Sunday, December 30, 2012

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph


1Sm 1:20-22, 24-28

In those days Hannah conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son
whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him.
The next time her husband Elkanah was going up
with the rest of his household
to offer the customary sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vows,
Hannah did not go, explaining to her husband,
"Once the child is weaned,
I will take him to appear before the LORD
and to remain there forever;
I will offer him as a perpetual nazirite."

Once Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him up with her,
along with a three-year-old bull,
an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine,
and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh.
After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull,
Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said:
"Pardon, my lord!
As you live, my lord,
I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD.
I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD."
Hannah left Samuel there.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5.

R. (cf. 1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Reading 2 Col 3:12-21

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands,
as is proper in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives,
and avoid any bitterness toward them.
Children, obey your parents in everything,
for this is pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children,
so they may not become discouraged.

Gospel Lk 2:41-52

Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast
of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
"Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."
And he said to them,
"Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor
before God and man.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Happenings

As I have written earlier I have been having a real struggle with my faith lately. I have also been longing to get into some groups to help me with this. My current parish really has nothing. I renewed my faith through the RCIA and it give me a larger appetite but I am missing some sort of follow up to carry on. Year before I did Cursillo through the Hungarian parish we were attending at the time and again it left me with an appetite for more. The Ultreyas were on a monthly basis but not always regular and it was not close to the magical Cursillo weekend.
 The parish I used to go to long ago but moved from has 2 new priests and a lot going on and reading through their bulletin online they offer a lot of small groups to discuss the scriptures among other things and low and behold a Cursillo group that meets every Saturday morning.
 So I sent an email to the lady who runs the group explained that I did my Cursillo through my Hungarian parish and if I could join up and she responded yes so this Saturday at 7:45am I will be there.
 I also think that I will be "returning" to this parish as with all the various groups I should be able to fill in my needs. In fact went for Christmas morning mass there.
 I guess God real did listen in my prayers and has provided for me. Provided a way to learn more and to fill this large void within me.
 I left this parish because I found it too modern too non conforming at time and this frustrated me. In the end though these things do not matter. What matters is you absorb the readings and absorb the mass and the surroundings do not effect how you yourself take in the word of the Lord!
Thanks be to God! God Bless you!

St. John the Apostle



20121224_8538.jpg


It is God who calls; human beings answer. The vocation of John and his brother James is stated very simply in the Gospels, along with that of Peter and his brother Andrew: Jesus called them; they followed. The absoluteness of their response is indicated by the account. James and John “were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:21b-22).

   For the three former fishermen—Peter, James and John—that faith was to be rewarded by a special friendship with Jesus. They alone were privileged to be present at the Transfiguration, the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemane. But John’s friendship was even more special. Tradition assigns to him the Fourth Gospel, although most modern Scripture scholars think it unlikely that the apostle and the evangelist are the same person.

   John’s own Gospel refers to him as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), the one who reclined next to Jesus at the Last Supper, and the one to whom he gave the exquisite honor, as he stood beneath the cross, of caring for his mother. “Woman, behold your son.... Behold, your mother” (John 19:26b, 27b).

   Because of the depth of his Gospel, John is usually thought of as the eagle of theology, soaring in high regions that other writers did not enter. But the ever-frank Gospels reveal some very human traits. Jesus gave James and John the nickname, “sons of thunder.” While it is difficult to know exactly what this meant, a clue is given in two incidents.

    In the first, as Matthew tells it, their mother asked that they might sit in the places of honor in Jesus’ kingdom—one on his right hand, one on his left. When Jesus asked them if they could drink the cup he would drink and be baptized with his baptism of pain, they blithely answered, “We can!” Jesus said that they would indeed share his cup, but that sitting at his right hand was not his to give. It was for those to whom it had been reserved by the Father. The other apostles were indignant at the mistaken ambition of the brothers, and Jesus took the occasion to teach them the true nature of authority: “...[W]hoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).

   On another occasion the “sons of thunder” asked Jesus if they should not call down fire from heaven upon the inhospitable Samaritans, who would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. But Jesus “turned and rebuked them” (see Luke 9:51-55).

   On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene “ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him’” (John 20:2). John recalls, perhaps with a smile, that he and Peter ran side by side, but then “the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first” (John 20:4b). He did not enter, but waited for Peter and let him go in first. “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8).

   John was with Peter when the first great miracle after the Resurrection took place—the cure of the man crippled from birth—which led to their spending the night in jail together. The mysterious experience of the Resurrection is perhaps best contained in the words of Acts: “Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they [the questioners] were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

   The Apostle John is traditionally considered the author of the Fourth Gospel, three New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation. His Gospel is a very personal account. He sees the glorious and divine Jesus already in the incidents of his mortal life. At the Last Supper, John’s Jesus speaks as if he were already in heaven. It is the Gospel of Jesus’ glory.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Prayer for Today

Christ is born, give glory.
Christ comes from heaven, meet him.
Christ is on earth, be exalted.
All the earth,
sing unto the Lord,
and sing praises in gladness
all you people,
for he has been glorified.
Wisdom and word and power,
Christ our God
is the Son and the brightness
of the Father,
and unknown to the powers
both above and upon the earth,
he was made human
and so has won us back again,
for he has been glorified.

Eastern Orthodox prayer

St. Stephen

All we know of Stephen is found in Acts of the Apostles, chapters Six and Seven. It is enough to tell us what kind of man he was:

   At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenist (Greek-speaking) Christians complained about the Hebrew-speaking Christians, saying that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit... (Acts 6:1-5).

   Acts says that Stephen was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders among the people. Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.

   In his speech, Stephen recalled God’s guidance through Israel’s history, as well as Israel’s idolatry and disobedience. He then claimed that his persecutors were showing this same spirit. “[Y]ou always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b).

   His speech brought anger from the crowd. “But [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God....’ They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.... As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.... Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:55-56, 58a, 59, 60b).

Psalm 31:3-8,17-21

Yes, you are my rock and my fortress; for your name's sake lead me and guide me, 
take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for you are my refuge. 
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. 
You hate those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD. 
I will rejoice and be glad for your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction, you have taken heed of my adversities, 
and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. 
Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on you;  let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol. 
Let the lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous  in pride and contempt. 
O how abundant is your goodness, which you have laid up for those who fear you, and wrought for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the sons of men! 
In the covert of your presence you hide them from the plots of men;  you hold them safe under your shelter from the strife of tongues. 
Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Is There Still No Room in the Inn, Pope Asks

Encourages Imitating the Shepherds' Curiosity to See What God Has Said to Us

Kathleen Naab
VATICAN CITY, December 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).
Benedict XVI is asking if Mary, Joseph and the Infant Jesus can find room in the inn even today, or if we too are guilty of turning away God himself.
The Pope made this question during tonight's Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.
The Holy Father suggested that our attitude toward the homeless, towards refugees and migrants "takes on a deeper dimension: do we really have room for God when he seeks to enter under our roof? Do we have time and space for him? Do we not actually turn away God himself?"
The Pontiff lamented that the "faster we can move" with all of modernity's "time-saving appliances," the less time we have. "And God? The question of God never seems urgent," he said. "Our time is already completely full."
The Bishop of Rome asked if God has any place even in our thinking.
"If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the 'God hypothesis' becomes superfluous," he said. "There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so 'full' of ourselves that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either, for children, for the poor, for the stranger."
Sounds of heaven
In contrast, the Pope noted the song of the angels, who begin their hymn with the words "Glory to God in the highest."
"God is glorious," Benedict declared. "God is pure light, the radiance of truth and love. He is good. He is true goodness, goodness par excellence. The angels surrounding him begin by simply proclaiming the joy of seeing God’s glory. Their song radiates the joy that fills them. In their words, it is as if we were hearing the sounds of heaven. There is no question of attempting to understand the meaning of it all, but simply the overflowing happiness of seeing the pure splendour of God’s truth and love. We want to let this joy reach out and touch us: truth exists, pure goodness exists, pure light exists. God is good, and he is the supreme power above all powers. All this should simply make us joyful tonight, together with the angels and the shepherds."
The Holy Father went on to speak of the second part of the angels' message -- "peace on earth among men" -- considering the role of religion in history's wars, and in peace.
"It is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property," he said. "[...] [Y]et it is not true that denial of God would lead to peace. If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished. Then the human creature would cease to be God’s image, to which we must pay honour in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to one another on account of that one Father. The kind of arrogant violence that then arises, the way man then despises and tramples upon man: we saw this in all its cruelty in the last century. Only if God’s light shines over man and within him, only if every single person is desired, known and loved by God is his dignity inviolable, however wretched his situation may be."
God's peace
The Holy Father invited prayer for the places where Christ lived and for the town of Bethlehem. "Let us pray that Israelis and Palestinians may be able to live their lives in the peace of the one God and in freedom," he said. "Let us also pray for the countries of the region, for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and their neighbours: that there may be peace there, that Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there, that Christians and Muslims may build up their countries side by side in God’s peace."
The Pontiff concluded the homily by again encouraging the faithful to give space to God.
"The shepherds made haste," he said. "Holy curiosity and holy joy impelled them. In our case, it is probably not very often that we make haste for the things of God. God does not feature among the things that require haste. The things of God can wait, we think and we say.
"And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing. Why should we not also be moved by curiosity to see more closely and to know what God has said to us? At this hour, let us ask him to touch our hearts with the holy curiosity and the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the Lord who today once more comes to meet us."

Merry Christmas and a Small Prayer

 
 Just a quick Merry Christmas to everyone and a peaceful wonderful day to all. May God Bless you!


Almighty God and Father of light, a child is born for us and a son is given to us. Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of her God. Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) (Mass at Dawn)

Reading 1 Is 62:11-12

See, the LORD proclaims
to the ends of the earth:
say to daughter Zion,
your savior comes!
Here is his reward with him,
his recompense before him.
They shall be called the holy people,
the redeemed of the LORD,
and you shall be called "Frequented,"
a city that is not forsaken.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 97:1, 6, 11-12.

R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Reading 2 Ti 3:4-7

Beloved:
When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Gospel Lk 2:15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
"Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us."
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

POPE: 'LEARN TO LISTEN TO GOD'


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 21, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI received a group from the youth section of the Italian group Catholic Action at the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. During the audience, which has become a yearly tradition, the Holy Father invited the youth to welcome "the creator of your joy" in the coming Christmas season.
"There are many people who bring you happiness, but there is also a great friend who is the creator of the joy of all, and with Whom our hearts are filled with a joy that surpasses all other, and which lasts throughout our lives: this friend is Jesus," the Holy Father said.
"The more you get to know Him and to enter into dialogue with Him, the greater the happiness you will feel in your hearts, and the more able you will be to overcome the minor disappointments you sometimes feel within."
Pope Benedict, calling to mind the youth's search for a guide in love, reminded them that being able to love is just as important as feeling loved. "Jesus showed us through the example of His life that God loves all without discrimination, and wants all of us to live in happiness," the Pope said.
Concluding his address, the Holy Father said that in their search for a bringer of peace, the youth should look only to God as the one who can bring "true and durable peace.
Pope Benedict invited the young boys and girls of Catholic Action to learn to listen to God and make space in their lives for Him. In doing so, He may clear away "the selfishness that often pollutes the relationships between people and nations, and gives rise to the desire for reconciliation, forgiveness and peace, even in those with the most hardened of hearts."
"If you wish to help each other to find the great Creator of life, joy, love and peace, you will discover that He is never far from you, but rather, is very close to us: He is the God who came to us as the child Jesus Christ!" concluded the Holy Father.

Fourth Sunday of Advent





Reading 1 Mi 5:1-4a

Thus says the LORD:
You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time
when she who is to give birth has borne,
and the rest of his kindred shall return
to the children of Israel.
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
and they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19.

R. (4) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
from your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power,
and come to save us.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted
the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
May your help be with the man of your right hand,
with the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from you;
give us new life, and we will call upon your name.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Reading 2 Heb 10:5-10

Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came into the world, he said:
"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, 'As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.'"

First he says, "Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in."
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, "Behold, I come to do your will."
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this "will," we have been consecrated
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Gospel Lk 1:39-45

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."

Friday, December 21, 2012

In rare article, Pope asks Christians to reasses priorities at Christmas

ROME, ITALY, December 20 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The Dec. 20 edition of the Financial Times featured a rare article by Pope Benedict XVI in which he advises Christians to use Christmas as a time to “reassess priorities” and reflect on how to live out their faith with eternity in mind.

“While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of great joy, it is also an occasion for deep reflection, even an examination of conscience,” he says in the article.

“At the end of a year that has meant economic hardship for many, what can we learn from the humility, the poverty, the simplicity of the crib scene?” he asks readers.

Seeing an article in a newspaper by the Pope is a very unusual occurrence.

This particular story made it to print after the paper’s editorial office saw Pope Benedict’s recently published book “Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives,” which inspired them to request him to write about Christmas.

The Vatican press office said Dec. 20 that Pope Benedict has granted interviews in the past to the BBC, a few months after his trip to the United Kingdom, and to the Italian national television station RAI in the program “A sua imagine” during Easter.

On both occasions, like today's Financial Times article, he spoke about Jesus Christ.

But this time he reflects on how Christians should examine how they can live out their faith in the world with a view to the eternal.

“Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God, was the response of Jesus when asked about paying taxes,” he says in the piece that ran opposite the editorial page.

He notes that this response emerged from a question meant to trap Jesus into taking sides about Roman rule in the land of Israel.

“Jesus' answer deftly moves the argument to a higher plane, gently cautioning against both the politicization of religion and the deification of temporal power, along with the relentless pursuit of wealth,” he says.

The 85-year-old pontiff notes that “the birth of Christ challenges us to reassess our priorities, our values, our way of life.”

Christians should use Christmas as an opportunity to read the Gospel more, he counsels.

“It is in the Gospel that Christians find inspiration for their daily lives and their involvement in worldly affairs – be it in the Houses of Parliament or in the stock exchange,” he states.

“Christians should not shun the world, they should engage with it,” he adds, “but their involvement in politics and economics should transcend every form of ideology.”

The Pope also praises Christians' work for a more equitable sharing of the earth's resources, done out of a belief that they have the duty to care for the weakest and most vulnerable.

“Christians oppose greed and exploitation out of a conviction that generosity and selfless love, as taught and lived by Jesus of Nazareth, are the way that leads to fullness of life,” he explains.

And he says that because the goals of peace and justice are shared by so many, “much fruitful co-operation is possible between Christians and others.”

“Yet Christians render to Caesar only what belongs to Caesar, not what belongs to God,” he insists, pointing out that Christians cannot always comply with governments’ demands.

Pope Benedict then responds to the frequent assertion that Christians “refuse to bow down before the false gods proposed today” because of “an antiquated worldview.”

Christians will not comply, he says, because “they are free from the constraints of ideology and inspired by such a noble vision of human destiny that they cannot collude with anything that undermines it.”

He ends his Christmas reflection by speaking about Italian nativity scenes that include ancient Roman buildings in the background.

These displays show Jesus' birth as an end of the pagan world "in which Caesar's claims went virtually unchallenged."

“From the manger,” the Pope writes, “Christ calls us to live as citizens of his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that all people of goodwill can help to build here on earth.”

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gloria TV Advent Retreat

I found this Advent retreat on Gloria TV

Achieving peace requires respect for all human life, Pope states


VATICAN CITY, December 14 (CNA/EWTN News) .- More than anything else, the path to peace involves “respect for human life in all its many aspects,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for the annual World Day of Peace.

“At the birth of Jesus, the angels proclaim the message ‘glory to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.’ With the birth of the savior, peace was wished for the earth, for humanity,” Cardinal Peter K. Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, remarked to CNA Dec. 14.

“Peace was offered and declared for humanity. My hope for next year is that this becomes real for humanity, that humanity begins more and more to realize the peace that was declared and announced at the birth of the Lord.”

The World Day of Peace is celebrated each year on Jan. 1, but the Pope usually releases his message for occasion in advance, as he did today. This year’s celebration will be the 46th time the day has been observed since it was established by Pope Paul VI.

“The many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace,” Pope Benedict wrote in his message for the coming year, entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

He also pointed out that in “every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life.”

“The desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind.”

Cardinal Turkson reflected on how peace is experienced “always in communion with God. There's a transcendent part of it. Related to and in communion with God, we seek to undertake this venture on earth.”

Pope Benedict underscored the same theme when he said that denying “the true nature of human beings … his intrinsic capacity to know the true and the good and, ultimately, to know God Himself, jeopardizes peacemaking.”

“Without the truth about man inscribed by the Creator in the human heart,” he wrote, “freedom and love become debased, and justice loses the ground of its exercise.”

“The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end,” he stated.

“True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent.”

The Pope also took up peace and its relationship with economies around the world.

Economic models, he said, must be based on solidarity and the common good rather than profit maximization.

Pope Benedict’s message finished by saying that teaching on peace is needed, so that there will be a greater orientation to good will, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

A Prayer and a Psalm for Today

Lord, I come before you humbly. As one who has frequently fallen into sin, I am aware of my weakness. Your great love, though, assures me that your grace can keep me on the path to holiness.
Lord, let me better imitate St. Joseph in the way I deal with the people around me.


"Lord Jesus, you came to save us from sin and the power of death. May I always rejoice in your salvation and trust in your plan for my life".

Psalm 72:1,12-13,18-19
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth!  Amen and Amen!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Respect for human nature is key to peace, Pope writes in annual message

CWN - December 14, 2012


"Peace is not a dream or something utopian; it is possible,” Pope Benedict XVI insists in his message for the 46th World Day of Peace.

The World Day of Peace is celebrated on January 1. The Pope’s message for the 2013 observance, entitled “Blessed Are the Peacemakers,” was released by the Vatican on December 14.

In his message the Pope says that “the desire for peace is an essential aspiration” of all men. “Man is made for peace, which is God’s gift,” he writes, adding that “peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort.”

At a December 14 press conference to introduce the papal document, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, remarked that the topics covered in the wide-ranging papal message include “issues such as the correct vision of marriage, the right to conscientious objection, religious freedom, the issues of work and unemployment, the food crisis, the financial crisis, and the role of the family in education.”

The fundamental theme of the Pope’s message is that peace is imperiled by ideologies that fail to acknowledge the fundamental truths of human nature. He writes:

The precondition for peace is the dismantling of the dictatorship of relativism and of the supposition of a completely autonomous morality which precludes acknowledgement of the ineluctable natural moral law inscribed by God upon the conscience of every man and woman.
Throughout his message the Pope continually returns to this theme. He says: “The denial of what makes up the true nature of human beings in its essential dimensions, its intrinsic capacity to know the true and the good and, ultimately, to know God Himself, jeopardizes peacemaking.”

Among the primary examples of offenses against the truth about human nature, the Pope mentions abortion, euthanasia, and attempts to redefine marriage and the family.

Regarding abortion, the Pope states: “The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenseless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace.” To underline the point he adds: “Every offense against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment.”

Pope Benedict continues:

There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.
These truths about human nature, the Pope emphasized, are not merely beliefs of the Catholic Church. “They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity.”

Any government policies that violate the essential dignity of human nature are threats to peace, the Pope argues. The peace is even further undermined, he says, when governments fail to provide for “the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and euthanasia.”

More generally, religious freedom is essential to a peaceful world, the Pope says. He laments the widespread violations of this freedom. “Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous,” he observes.

Turning to problems arising from the global economy, the Pope says that peace is threatened by injustices and radical inequalities. These problems continue, he argues, because “ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy are spreading the conviction that economic growth should be pursued even to the detriment of the state’s social responsibilities and civil society’s networks of solidarity.”

The Pope suggests that the global economic crisis could furnish an opportunity for a careful re-examination of the world’s financial system:

In order to emerge from the present financial and economic crisis – which has engendered ever greater inequalities – we need people, groups and institutions which will promote life by fostering human creativity, in order to draw from the crisis itself an opportunity for discernment and for a new economic model. The predominant model of recent decades called for seeking maximum profit and consumption, on the basis of an individualistic and selfish mindset, aimed at considering individuals solely in terms of their ability to meet the demands of competitiveness.
Among the fundamental problems that should be addressed in a healthy world economy, the Pope highlights the right to work and the provision of adequate food supplies for all.

The Pope concludes his message by calling for a “pedagogy of peace,” which allows for educating young people especially in the virtues needed for peacemaking. This in turn requires a “pedagogy of pardon,” encouraging the forgiveness of past offenses, he says.

Psalms 146:5-10


Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them;  who keeps faith for ever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.  The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;  the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless;  but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign for ever, thy God, O Zion, to all generations.  Praise the LORD!

Third Sunday of Advent






Reading 1 Zep 3:14-18a

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you
he has turned away your enemies;
the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
he will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Responsorial Psalm Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6.

R. (6) Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.

Reading 2 Phil 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Lk 3:10-18

The crowds asked John the Baptist,
"What should we do?"
He said to them in reply,
"Whoever has two cloaks
should share with the person who has none.
And whoever has food should do likewise."
Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him,
"Teacher, what should we do?"
He answered them,
"Stop collecting more than what is prescribed."
Soldiers also asked him,
"And what is it that we should do?"
He told them,
"Do not practice extortion,
do not falsely accuse anyone,
and be satisfied with your wages."

Now the people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
"I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor
and to gather the wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Exhorting them in many other ways,
he preached good news to the people.

Found This

Good Morning I found this at a site I frequent and found it to be truly a wonderful short prayer. In fact it is called One of the  greatest of all short prayers. So please enjoy;


One of the Greatest of All Short Prayers

May the Holy Spirit who guided Jesus
Be my guide and my strength today
So others may experience God's love in me at each moment.

Adapted from the Apostleship of Prayer

Friday, December 14, 2012

Advent a time to reflect on God's saving work, Pope says


VATICAN CITY, December 12 (CNA/EWTN News) .- Christians should use the time of Advent to become more aware of how God continues to carry out his plan of salvation in the world, Pope Benedict said Dec. 12.

“God has left His Heaven and come down to earth for man; forged an alliance with him coming into the history of a people,” the Pope reflected Wednesday.

“He is the king who came down to this poor province that is the earth, and gifted us with His visit, taking on human flesh and becoming man like us.”

In his General Audience in Paul VI hall, Pope Benedict continued his teaching on the history of salvation, reminding the faithful that Advent presents the Church with an opportunity to reflect on God’s redeeming work in humanity.

God, he said, is “not removed from the world” nor is he “absent.” Rather, the pontiff encouraged, “He comes to us in different ways, which we need to learn to discern.”

In order to better understand this work, Christians must look at the ways in which God is present in a world which is “often superficial and distracted.”

“God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves,” Pope Benedict said quoting his predecessor Bl. John Paul II’s encyclical “Fides et Ratio.”

Christians “are called everyday to see and bear witness to this presence,” Pope Benedict said, and “to reflect in our lives the light that illuminated the cave of Bethlehem.”

The “best place” to discover the revelation of God is Sacred Scripture, Pope Benedict said.

The Pope recounted the stages of salvation history, as summarized in the Catechism from the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden to Redemption through the Incarnation of Christ.

Throughout this work, God “is always faithful” to his people and his “plan of liberation” so that man “can recognize and serve his Lord and respond with faith and love to his actions.”

Mary’s Magnificat is “one of the highest examples of the history of salvation,” Pope Benedict said, pointing out that in her prayer of thanksgiving, the Blessed Mother “praises God’s merciful action within the concrete journey of His people.”

The Incarnation, he said, presents us with the culmination of God’s saving work.

“Finally, in Christ the Revelation in its fullness is realized, God’s loving plan in which He becomes one of us,” Pope Benedict said.

During the Year of Faith, Pope Benedict said he invites everyone to “take up the Bible more often and meditate on it and pay more attention to the readings in Sunday Mass,” he said, calling Sacred Scripture, “valuable nourishment for our faith.”

In celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12, the Pope urged young pilgrims to “learn to love and hope at the school of Mary;” encouraged the sick to find “comfort and companionship” in their suffering; and asked newlyweds to “entrust to the Mother of Jesus” their “marital journey.”

Psalm 1:1-6


Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Psalm 145:1, 9-13


I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name for ever and ever.
The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
to make known to the sons of men your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Prayer for Today


Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose,
make intercession for the holy Church,
help all those who invoke you in their necessities,
and since you are the ever virgin Mary
and mother of the true God,
obtain for us from your most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life,
burning charity
and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.
— – Pope St. Pius X

Our Lady of Guadalupe



20121205_8507.jpg

The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the 16th century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story.

   A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City. On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady.

   He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared.

   Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign. About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady. The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma.

   When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego’s tilma appeared an image of Mary exactly as she had appeared at the hill of Tepeyac. It was December 12, 1531.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Reading 1 Zecheraiah 2: 14-17

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD. Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they shall be his people, and he will dwell among you, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land, and he will again choose Jerusalem. Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD! For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.


Psalm Judith 13: 18bcde, 19

R. (15:9d) You are the highest honor of our race.

Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God,
above all the women on earth;
and blessed be the LORD God,
the creator of heaven and earth.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.

Your deed of hope will never be forgotten
by those who tell of the might of God.
R. You are the highest honor of our race.

Lk 1: 39-47

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."

   And Mary said:
 "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior."


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas is more than a party, Pope explains


Vatican City, Dec 9, 2012 / 09:28 am (EWTN News/CNA)


The Pope asked Catholics to prepare for Christmas amid a consumerist society by listening to the voice of John the Baptist, who teaches us to celebrate Christmas as more than a party.
"Our aim today is listening to that voice to give space and welcome to the heart of Jesus, the word that saves us," said Pope Benedict XVI from his apartment window to pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
The Pope asked Catholics to "prepare to see with the eyes of faith the humble stable of Bethlehem, God's salvation, in this time of Advent."
"In the consumer society, in which we seek joy in things, John the Baptist teaches us to live in an essential way, so Christmas is experienced not only as an outward party outside, but as the feast of the Son of God who came to bring peace, life and true joy to people."
"John plays a great role, but always in relation to Christ," said the Pope on Dec. 9, following the feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception.
He explained that the four Gospels place the figure of John the Baptist at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, presenting him as his precursor.
Quoting from his new book on Jesus’ infancy, Pope Benedict pointed out that “St. Luke has further moved the connection between the two figures and their respective missions ... Already in their conception and birth, Jesus and John are brought into relation with each other."
He noted that this helps understand that John "not only is the last of the prophets, but also represents the whole priesthood of the Old Covenant and therefore prepares men for the worship of the spiritual New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus."
"Luke also dispels any mythic reading that is often made of the Gospels and the life of the historical places," said Pope Benedict, recalling the Gospel writer’s explicit mention of John the Baptist being born ‘In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor ... during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas.’
He spoke of Saint Augustine, who said that Christ is the eternal word since the beginning, while John is the voice that passed by.
Perhaps building off the theme of John the Baptist in the wilderness,  the Pope also spoke of migrants, saying they often encounter little understanding among those they meet in foreign lands.
“In preparation for Christmas,” he urged people to have “a joyous and fraternal solidarity to come to the aid of their needs and support their hope.”
He called on Catholics to "not forget that every Christian is ‘en route’ to his true home, which is heaven," before greeting pilgrims in several languages.
Pope Benedict finished his reflections by entrusting everyone to the “maternal intercession of Mary, Virgin of Advent, so we may be ready to welcome, into our hearts and life, Emmanuel, God-with-us.”


Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=6693#ixzz2EaBFFtM0

Second Sunday of Advent







Reading 1 Bar 5:1-9

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God's worship.

Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed Israel at God's command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6.

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Reading 2 Phil 1:4-6, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.

Gospel Lk 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Solemnity of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary






Reading 1 Gn 3:9-15, 20

After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree,
the LORD God called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?"
He answered, "I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself."
Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
The man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me--
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it."
The LORD God then asked the woman,
"Why did you do such a thing?"
The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."

Then the LORD God said to the serpent:
"Because you have done this, you shall be banned
from all the animals
and from all the wild creatures;
on your belly shall you crawl,
and dirt shall you eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel."

The man called his wife Eve,
because she became the mother of all the living.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

R. (1) Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds.

Reading 2 Eph 1:3-6, 11-12

Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.

Gospel Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pope: Advent is time to focus on God's loving plan


VATICAN CITY, December 5 (CNA/EWTN News) .- As the Church celebrates the season of Advent, Pope Benedict said that Catholics should remember “God is present” and recall his “plan of loving goodness.”

"Advent invites us, in the midst of many difficulties, to renew the assurance that God is present," he told thousands in his general audience at the Vatican on Dec. 5.

Pope Benedict XVI called Advent the time which prepares us for the coming of Christ, which he said is "the great plan of loving goodness," which God wants to use to draw us to him.

"He came into the world, becoming a man like us, to fulfill his plan of love and God demands we become a sign of action in the world," he told the pilgrims at Paul VI Hall.

"This ‘plan of loving goodness’ hasn't remained in God's silence, in the height of his heaven, but he has revealed it by engaging in a relationship with man, whom he has revealed himself to," he said.

Pope Benedict noted that God has not delivered simply a set of truths, but has communicated himself to us by becoming one of us.

"God reveals his great plan of love entering into a relationship with man, coming close to him, to the point of being himself man," he added.

"Saint John Chrysostom, in a famous comment on the beginning of the Letter to the Ephesians, invites people to enjoy all the beauty of this ‘plan of loving goodness’ of God revealed in Christ with these words.

"What do you miss? You have become immortal, you have become free, you have become a child, you have become righteous, you're a brother, you have become a joint heir with Christ to reign and with Christ to glorify," the Pope said, quoting the saint.

The Pope also reflected on how communion in Christ through the Holy Spirit is not something that overlaps with our humanity but is the fulfillment of the deepest human longings.

It is the desire for the infinite that dwells in the depths of the human being and opens it to an eternal happiness, he said.

The pontiff also remembered Blessed Pope John Paul II's point that "revelation sets within history a point of reference which man can't ignore, if he wants to come to understand the mystery of his existence."

According to Pope Benedict, who has been delivering a series of reflections on faith at the weekly general audiences, faith is man's response to God's revelation, and we must do as St. Paul says and be obedient to faith.

Faith is an attitude and a change of mentality in which man freely commits himself to God, leading to a "fundamental change in how we relate to the whole of reality, as everything appears in a new light," he noted.

Seeing with God's eyes, Pope Benedict asserted, is what makes life solid and allows us to stand and not fall.

"Through our faith, our hope, our love, he wants to enter the world again and again, he wants to shine his light in our night," he concluded.

The Pope then greeted the pilgrims in different languages, including those from Australia and the United States, specifically mentioning those from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

A Prayer for Today


Grant to me, my Lord, that with peace of mind
I may face all that this new day is to bring.
Grant me grace to surrender myself completely
to your holy will.
For every hour of this day
instruct and prepare me in all things.
Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day,
do You teach me to accept tranquilly,
in the firm conviction that
all eventualities fulfill Your holy will.
Govern my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say.
When things unforeseen occur,
let me not forget that all comes down from you.
Teach me to behave sincerely and reasonably
toward every member of my family,
that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none.
Bestow on me, my Lord,
strength to endure the fatigue of the day
and to bear my part in all its passing events.
Guide my will and teach me to pray, to believe,
to hope, to suffer, to forgive and to love. Amen

- The Elders of Optina Monastery

St. Nicholas

 Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas. In many European countries including Hungary (my background) today is the day St. Nicholas comes and gives all the good children gifts.
 For us with Hungarian backgrounds we are on the night of December 5th to put our boots in the window and when St. Nicholas passes by and you have been good he leaves a gift (usually some chocolates) and if you have been bad a piece of coal gets left in your boot by Krumpusz. My wife being from Hungary has carried on this tradition and even though our kids are now grown up or close to still look forward to this day.
 Now here is the real story of St. Nicholas. Please enjoy!




The absence of the “hard facts” of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of saints, as the devotion to St. Nicholas shows. Both the Eastern and Western Churches honor him, and it is claimed that, after the Blessed Virgin, he is the saint most pictured by Christian artists. And yet, historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.

   As with many of the saints, however, we are able to capture the relationship which Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have had for him—an admiration expressed in the colorful stories which have been told and retold through the centuries.

   Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast. In the English-speaking countries, St. Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus—further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this holy bishop.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prayer for Today


O sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God,
who alone has authority to forgive sins,
overlook in your goodness and love
all my offenses whether committed
with knowledge or in ignorance,
and make me worthy to receive
your divine, glorious, spotless,
and life-giving mysteries,
not for punishment,
nor for an increase of sins,
but for purification and sanctification
and as a pledge of the life
and kingdom to come,
as a protection and help,
and for the destruction of enemies,
and for the blotting out
of my many transgressions.
For you are a God of mercy
and compassion and love,
and to you we send up the glory,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and ever. Amen.

- St. John of Damascus

Psalms 23:1-6


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;
he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me;  your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;  you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;  and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Holy Father on Twitter


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See Press Office
> officially announced Pope Benedict XVI's presence on Twitter. The Holy Father is
> set to send out his first tweet on December 12, Feast of Our Lady of
> Guadalupe, under the username @pontifex.
>
> Presenting the initiative to the press was Fr. Federico Lombardi, director
> of the Holy See Press Office; Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of
> the Pontifical Council for Social Communication; Professor Gian Maria
> Vian, director of L'Osservatore Romano; and Dr. Greg Burke, Media Advisor to
> the Vatican Secretary of State. Also present at the press conference was Dr.
> Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Director of Social Innovation for Twitter.
>
> Archbishop Celli noted the significance of the Pope's presence on Twitter
> was not so much an emphasis on the modern world nor a tribute to
> technology, but more importantly a means to show that technology "is put in our hands
> to announce the Gospel."
>
> "The desire of this Pontiff is to enter into dialogue with the man and
> woman of today, and to speak with them in places where they are found,"
> Archbishop Celli said. Recalling the question as to how can the Pope evangelize
> in 140 characters, which is the limit of characters for an individual tweet,
> Archbishop Celli said that while it is a challenge, it is not a
> significant setback.
>
> "The problem is not 140 characters; the main concern is to give profound
> human expression to the words that are given," Archbishop Celli said. The
> head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications stated that Twitter
> would give the Holy Father the opportunity to express what Archbishop Celli
> described as "pearls of wisdom".
>
> Greg Burke, Media Advisor for the Vatican Secretary of State, stated that
> it would be surprising if the Pope was not present on Twitter given that it
> is "an excellent means" of communication. Burke also noted the dual
> meaning of the Pope's user name.
>
> "@Pontifex not only means 'pope', it also means 'bridge builder', which
> suggests unity with all men of good will," he said.
>
> Burke stated that the Pope's Twitter account will allow followers to ask
> the Pope questions and engage in dialogue with the Supreme Pontiff. The
> first tweets will be answers to questions on faith from followers who send the
> Holy Father questions under the hashtag #askpontifex.
>
> Pope Benedict XVI will send out tweets in various languages as well. Among
> the languages are Spanish (@pontifex_es), Italian (@pontifex_it),
> Portuguese (@pontifex_pt), German (@pontifex_de), Polish (@pontifex_pl), Arabic
> (@pontifex_ar), and French (@pontifex_fr). Other languages could be added
> later on in the future.
>
> While he wasn't sure how many tweets the Holy Father would be sending on a
> given day, Burke assured that every tweet will come straight from Pope
> Benedict XVI.
>
> Other initiatives announced by the Pontifical Council for Social
> Communication would be an upcoming YouTube page for news.va, an e-book to coincide
> with the Year of Faith, and a mobile app, called "The Pope App" which
> includes news, live broadcast of the Pope's addresses, and live webcam feeds to
> St. Peter's, Castelgandolfo and other papal sites. The app is due to be
> released this month for iOS and will be available for Android in January.
>
>

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Prayer for Today


O God of all the nations of the earth,
remember the multitudes who,
though created in your image,
have not known you,
nor the dying of your Son
their Savior Jesus Christ.
Grant that,
by the prayers and labors of your Church,
they may be delivered
from all ignorance and unbelief,
and brought to worship you;
through him whom you have sent
to be the resurrection
and the life of all people,
your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

- St. Francis Xavier

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pope says Advent is a time to listen to God


Vatican City, Dec 2, 2012 / 10:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI has said Advent is a time to extend God’s “kingdom of love” and to reflect on the coming of Jesus into the world.

“Amid the turmoil of the world, or the deserts of indifference and materialism, Christians accept salvation from God and witness with a different way of life, like a city set on a hill,” said Pope Benedict during his Dec. 2 Angelus comments at St. Peter’s Square

The pontiff said that the community of believers is “a sign of the love of God, his justice that is present in the history but that is not yet fully realized, and that we must therefore must always be waiting and seeking it with courage and patience.”

He said Advent begins a new liturgical year that this year is “further enriched” by the Year of Faith which marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.

The word “advent” means “coming” or “presence.” In ancient times, it originally meant the visit of a king or emperor, but for Christians it now refers to the coming of God, the Pope explained.

Advent refers to two moments related to the first and second coming of Jesus, according to the Pope. The first is the Incarnation and the second is his coming at the end of time.

He said these two moments are “deeply touching” because Jesus’ death and resurrection has “already made the transformation of man and the cosmos, which is the end for which we were created.”

Pope Benedict said the Virgin Mary perfectly embodies the spirit of Advent, which involves both listening to God and having deep desire to do his will in joyful service to others.

“Let us be guided by her, because some are closed to or distracted from God,” he said. “May each of us extend a little of his kingdom of love, justice and peace.”

He said the “saving plan of God” is always taking place and constantly requires the free collaboration of man and the Church.

The Pope referred to the Sunday reading from Gospel of Luke, which says “watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by drunkenness and the cares of life … stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen.”

He also spoke of St. Paul’s exhortation to “increase and abound in love.”

Turning to more specific concerns, the Pope appealed to governments to promote disabled people's full participation in society.

“Each person, despite his physical and psychological limits, even serious ones, is always invaluable, and must be considered as such,” he said.

The Pope encouraged church communities to be attentive and welcoming towards them and said he urged governments to “protect people with disabilities and promote their full participation in society.”

Dec. 3 marks the International Day for People with Disabilities.

Pope Benedict also mentioned the beatification of Devasahayam Pillai, an Indian lay Catholic from the 18th century who died as a martyr.

“We join the joy of the Church in India and pray that the new blessed sustain the faith of the Christians of that great and noble country,” he said.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Welcome to Advent



 So here it is the new liturgical year and the first Sunday of Advent. So what does this all mean? Advent how do we handle it does it mean only 22 more days of shopping until Christmas? Get my suit cleaned for my annual Christmas appearance at church? Maybe throw in a couple of more Sunday masses to pretend we are doing the correct thing?
 To me it is a very serious time to reflect about the coming of Christ. A time for one to reassess where ones relationship is with Jesus and God. Time to clean house so to speak.
 Certainly for many of us Advent is nothing more than getting into the 2 minute drill to make sure we are ready for Christmas but many of us are only looking for the commercial meaning that the secular world has pushed upon us.
 It is interesting to read and see what a very important time this truly is for Catholics filled with reflection and prayer in preparation of our Lord's arrival. Family time to get closer and show your true love to God, a time to come clean if you will very much like Lent.
 It appears thanks to the commercialization of Christmas or the dismantling of Christmas here in North America to a Happy Holiday season that the true message is missed.
 For me and not really grasping why it has been a very hard year spiritually but I trudge on knowing that I have to keep that direction or I will lose myself and this Advent it will be a time of turning up the heat so to speak in getting more understanding and assembling an action plan to slowly chip away at the problems within me and immerse myself more into the true meaning of the season.
 There are many times when I worry where I am with the Lord but many times in reflecting I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. I truly almost detest the Christmas season. The crowds like aimless sheep pushing and shoving hurriedly through the stores and malls getting the right toy, piece of jewelry or that must have new super duper large screen TV or I Pad all the while missing the coming of Christ and what he truly means to the world.
 It is hard many a times you wonder if the monks and hermits from centuries ago had it right by closing themselves away from the world.
 So this Advent when you light the candle Thank God that you still care enough about God and Jesus to turn away from our secular Holiday and shopping season and reflect on the relationship you have within your family and with God. I know that is what I plan to do! God Bless and thanks for listening.

Prayer for Today


Father,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

- Bl. Charles de Foucauld

A Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent

Heavenly Father, I gladly spend a few minutes with you, to be close to you, because you know how much I need your presence and grace in my life. You deserve to be the center of my thoughts and desires; but often I let myself be taken up by the anxieties of daily life. Sorry Lord, but at least here I am right now, hungry for you alone. Today, Lord, I accompany the whole Church as we begin the Advent Season and begin to prepare for your coming to earth as a baby on Christmas morning.

Petition: Lord, prepare my heart for your coming at Christmas.

First Sunday of Advent





Reading 1 Jer 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
"The LORD our justice."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

 Reading 2 1 Thes 3:12-4:2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Gospel Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Psalm 95:1-7a


O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it; for his hands formed the dry land.
O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

Also a short prayer;

"Lord Jesus, rouse my spirit to the truth that this world is passing away. Give me a lively faith, a joyful hope, and a fervent love to see you face to face when you return in glory."

Homily for Today

Unto us it is given so we may blossom in Jesus! Good morning to everyone and welcome to our guests who have found their way to our humble...