Monday, January 1, 2018

Saint January 2 : St Gregory Nazianzus




Born:
325, Arianzum, Cappadocia

Died:
January 25, 389, Arianzum, Cappadocia
Major Shrine:
Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George in the Fanar
Doctor of the Church, born at Arianzus, in Asia Minor, c. 325; died at the same place, 389. He was son -- one of three children -- of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus (329-374), in the south-west of Cappadocia, and of Nonna, a daughter of Christian parents. The saint's father was originally a member of the heretical sect of the Hypsistarii, or Hypsistiani, and was converted to Catholicity by the influence of his pious wife. His two sons, who seem to have been born between the dates of their father's priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, were sent to a famous school at Caesarea, capital of Cappadocia, and educated by Carterius, probably the same one who was afterwards tutor of St. John Chrysostom. Here commenced the friendship between Basil and Gregory which intimately affected both their lives, as well as the development of the theology of their age. From Caesarea in Cappadocia Gregory proceeded to Caesarea in Palestine, where he studied rhetoric under Thespesius; and thence to Alexandria, of which Athanasius was then bishop, through at the time in exile. Setting out by sea from Alexandria to Athens, Gregory was all but lost in a great storm, and some of his biographers infer -- though the fact is not certain -- that when in danger of death he and his companions received the rite of baptism. He had certainly not been baptized in infancy, though dedicated to God by his pious mother; but there is some authority for believing that he received  the sacrament, not on his voyage to Athens, but on his return to Nazianzus some years later. At Athens Gregory and Basil, who had parted at Caesarea, met again, renewed their youthful friendship, and studied rhetoric together under the famous teachers Himerius and Proaeresius. Among their fellow students was Julian, afterwards known as the Apostate, whose real character Gregory asserts that he had even then discerned and thoroughly distrusted him. The saint's studies at Athens (which Basil left before his friend) extended over some ten years; and when he departed in 356 for his native province, visiting Constantinople on his way home, he was about thirty years of age.

Arrived at Nazianzus, where his parents were now advanced in age, Gregory, who had by this time firmly resolved to devote his life and talents to God, anxiously considered the plan of his future career. To a young man of his high attainments a distinguished secular career was open, either that of a lawyer or of a professor of rhetoric; but his yearnings were for the monastic or ascetic life, though this did not seem compatible either with the Scripture studies in which he was deeply interested, or with his filial duties at home. As was natural, he consulted his beloved friend Basil in his perplexity as to his future; and he has left us in his own writings an extremely interesting narrative of their intercourse at this time, and of their common resolve (based on somewhat different motives, according to the decided differences in their characters) to quit the world for the service of God alone. Basil retired to Pontus to lead the life of a hermit; but finding that Gregory could not join him there, came and settled first at Tiberina (near Gregory's own  home), then at Neoc├Žsarea, in Pontus, where he lived in holy seclusion for some years, and gathered round him a brotherhood of cenobites, among whom his friend Gregory was for a time included. After a sojourn here for two or three years, during which Gregory edited, with Basil some of the exegetical works of Origen, and also helped his friend in the compilation of his famous rules, Gregory returned to Nazianzus, leaving with regret the peaceful hermitage where he and Basil (as he recalled in their subsequent correspondence) had spent such a pleasant time in the labour both of hands and of heads. On his return home Gregory was instrumental in bringing back to orthodoxy his father who, perhaps partly in ignorance, had subscribed the heretical creed of Rimini; and the aged bishop, desiring his son's presence and support, overruled his scrupulous shrinking from the priesthood, and forced him to accept ordination (probably at  Christmas, 361). Wounded and grieved at the pressure put upon him, Gregory fled back to his solitude, and to the company of St. Basil; but after some weeks' reflection returned to Nazianzus, where he preached his first sermon on Easter Sunday, and afterward wrote the remarkable apologetic oration, which is really a treatise on the priestly office, the foundation of Chrysostom's "De Sacerdotio", of Gregory the Great's "Cura Pastoris", and of countless subsequent writings on the same subject.
During the next few years Gregory's life at Nazianzus was saddened by the deaths of his brother Caesarius and his sister Gorgonia, at whose funerals he preached two of his most eloquent orations, which are still extant. About this time Basil was made bishop of Caesarea and Metropolitan of Cappadocia, and soon afterwards the Emperor Valens, who was jealous of Basil's influence, divided Cappadocia into two provinces. Basil continued to claim ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as before, over the whole province, but this was disputed by Anthimus, Bishop of Tyana, the chief city of New Cappadocia. To strengthen his position Basil founded a new see at Sasima, resolved to have Gregory as its first bishop, and accordingly had him consecrated, though greatly against his will. Gregory, however, was set against Sasima from the first; he thought himself utterly unsuited to the place, and the place to him; and it was not long before he abandoned his diocese and returned to Nazianzus as coadjutor to his father. This episode in Gregory's life was unhappily the cause of an estrangement between Basil and himself which was never altogether removed; and there is no extant record of any correspondence between them subsequent to Gregory's leaving Sasima. Meanwhile he occupied himself sedulously with his duties as coadjutor to his aged father, who died early in 374, his wife Nonna soon following him to the grave. Gregory, who was now left without family ties, devoted to the poor the large fortune which he had inherited, keeping for himself only a small piece of land at Arianzus. He continued to administer the diocese for about two years, refusing, however, to become the bishop, and continually urging the appointment of a successor to his father. At the end of 375 he withdrew to a monastery at Seleuci, living there in solitude for some three years, and preparing (though he knew it not) for what was to be the crowning work of his life. About the end of this period Basil died. Gregory's own state of health prevented his being present either at the deathbed or funeral; but he wrote a letter of condolence to Basil's brother, Gregory of Nyssa, and composed twelve beautiful memorial poems or epitaphs to his departed friend.
Three weeks after Basil's death, Theodosius was advanced by the Emperor Gratian to the dignity of Emperor of the East. Constantinople, the seat of his empire, had been for the space of about thirty years (since the death of the saintly and martyred Bishop Paul) practically given over too Arianism, with an Arian prelate, Demophilus, enthroned at St. Sophia's. The remnant of persecuted Catholics, without either church or pastor, applied to  Gregory to come and place himself at their head and organize their scattered forces; and many bishops supported the demand. After much hesitation he gave his consent, proceeded to Constantinople early in the year 379, and began his mission in a private house which he describes as "the new Shiloh where the Ark was fixed", and as "an Anastasia, the scene of the resurrection of the faith". Not only the faithful Catholics, but many heretics gathered in the humble chapel of the Anastasia, attracted by Gregory's sanctity, learning and eloquence; and it was in this chapel that he delivered the five wonderful discourses on the faith of Nicaea -- unfolding the doctrine of the Trinity while safeguarding the Unity of the Godhead -- which gained for him, alone of all Christian teachers except the Apostle St. John, the special title of Theologus or the Divine. He also delivered at this time the eloquent panegyrics on St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, and the Machabees, which are among his finest oratorical works. Meanwhile he found himself exposed to persecution of every kind from without, and was actually attacked in his own chapel, whilst baptizing his Easter neophytes, by a hostile mob of Arians from St. Sophia's, among them being Arian monks and infuriated women. He was saddened, too, by dissensions among his own little flock, some of whom openly charged him with holding Tritheistic errors. St. Jerome became about this time his pupil and disciple, and tells us in glowing language how much he owed to his erudite and eloquent teacher. Gregory was consoled by the approval of Peter, Patriarch of Constantinople (Duchesne's opinion, that the patriarch was from the first jealous or suspicious of the Cappadocian bishop's influence in Constantinople, does not seem sufficiently supported by evidence), and Peter appears to have been desirous to see him appointed to the bishopric of the capital of the East. Gregory, however, unfortunately allowed himself to be imposed upon by a plausible adventurer called Hero, or Maximus, who came to Constantinople from Alexandria in the guise (long hair, white robe, and staff) of a Cynic, and professed to be a convert to Christianity, and an ardent admirer of Gregory's sermons. Gregory entertained him hospitably, gave him his complete confidence, and pronounced a public panegyric on him in his presence. Maximus's intrigues to obtain the bishopric for himself found support in various quarters, including Alexandria, which the patriarch Peter, for what reason precisely it is not known, had turned against Gregory; and certain Egyptian bishops deputed by Peter, suddenly, and at night, consecrated and enthroned Maximus as Catholic Bishop of Constantinople, while  Gregory was confined to bed by illness. Gregory's friends, however, rallied round him, and Maximus had to fly from Constantinople. The Emperor Theodosius, to whom he had recourse, refused to recognize any bishop other than Gregory, and Maximus retired in disgrace to Alexandria.
Theodosius received Christian baptism early in 380, at Thessalonica, and immediately addressed an edict to his subjects at Constantinople, commanding them to adhere to the faith taught by St. Peter, and professed by the Roman pontiff, which alone deserved to be called Catholic. In November, the emperor entered the city and called on Demophilus, the Arian bishop, to subscribe to the Nicene creed: but he refused to do so, and was banished from Constantinople. Theodosius determined that Gregory should be bishop of the new Catholic see, and himself accompanied him to St. Sophia's, where he was enthroned in presence of an immense crowd, who manifested their feelings by hand-clappings and other signs of joy. Constantinople was now restored to Catholic unity; the emperor, by a new edict, gave back all the churches to Catholic use; Arians and other heretics were forbidden to hold public assemblies; and the name of Catholic was restricted to adherents of the orthodox and Catholic faith.
Gregory had hardly settled down to the work of administration of the Diocese of Constantinople, when Theodosius carried out his long-cherished purpose of summoning thither a general council of the Eastern Church. One hundred and fifty bishops met in council, in May, 381, the object of the assembly being, as Socrates plainly states, to confirm the faith of Nicaea, and to appoint a bishop for Constantinople (see CONSTANTINOPLE, THE FIRST COUNCIL OF). Among the bishops present were thirty-six holding semi-Arian or Macedonian opinions; and neither the arguments of the orthodox prelates nor the eloquence of Gregory, who preached at Pentecost, in St. Sophia's, on the subject of the Holy Spirit, availed to persuade them to sign the orthodox creed. As to the appointment of the bishopric, the confirmation of Gregory to the see could only be a matter of form. The orthodox bishops were all in favor, and the objection (urged by the Egyptian and Macedonian prelates who joined the council later) that his translation from one see to another was in opposition to a canon  of the Nicene council was obviously unfounded. The fact was well known that Gregory had never, after his forced consecration at the instance of Basil, entered into possession of the See of Sasima, and that he had later exercised his episcopal functions at Nazianzus, not as bishop of that diocese, but merely  as coadjutor of his father. Gregory succeeded Meletius as president of the council, which found itself at once called on to deal with the difficult question of appointing a successor to the deceased bishop. There had been an understanding between the two orthodox parties at Antioch, of which Meletius and Paulinus had been respectively bishops that the survivor of either should succeed as sole bishop. Paulinus, however, was a prelate of Western origin and creation, and the Eastern bishops assembled at Constantinople declined to recognize him. In vain did Gregory urge, for the sake of peace, the retention of Paulinus in the see for the remainder of his life, already fare advanced; the Fathers of the council refused to listen to his advice, and resolved that Meletius should be succeeded by an Oriental priest. "It was in the East that Christ was born", was one of the arguments they put forward; and Gregory's retort, "Yes, and it was in the East that he was put to death", did not shake their decision. Flavian, a priest of Antioch, was elected to the vacant see; and Gregory, who relates that the only result of his appeal was "a cry like that of a flock of jackdaws" while the younger members of the council "attacked him like a swarm of wasps", quitted the council, and left also his official residence, close to the church of the Holy Apostles.
Gregory had now come to the conclusion that not only the opposition and disappointment which he had met with in the council, but also his continued state of ill-health, justified, and indeed necessitated, his resignation of the See of Constantinople, which he had held for only a few months. He appeared again before the council, intimated that he was ready to be another Jonas to pacify the troubled waves, and that all he desired was rest from his labours, and leisure to prepare for death. The Fathers made no protest against this announcement, which some among them doubtless heard with secret satisfaction; and Gregory at once sought and obtained from the emperor permission to resign his see. In June, 381, he preached a farewell sermon before the council and in presence of an overflowing congregation. The peroration of this discourse is of singular and touching beauty, and unsurpassed even among his many eloquent orations. Very soon after its delivery he left Constantinople (Nectarius, a native of Cilicia, being chosen to succeed him in the bishopric), and retired to his old home at Nazianzus. His two extant letters addressed to Nectarius at his time are noteworthy as affording evidence, by their spirit and tone, that he was actuated by no other feelings than those of interested goodwill towards the diocese of which he was resigning the care, and towards his successor in the episcopal charge. On his return to Nazianzus, Gregory found the Church there in a miserable condition, being overrun with the erroneous teaching of Apollinaris the Younger, who had seceded from the Catholic communion a few years previously, and died shortly after Gregory himself. Gregory's anxiety was now to find a learned and zealous bishop who would be able to stem the flood of heresy which was threatening to overwhelm the Christian Church in that place. All his efforts were at first unsuccessful, and he consented at length with much reluctance to take over the administration of the diocese himself. He combated for a time, with his usual eloquence and as much energy as remained to him, the false teaching of the adversaries of the Church; but he felt himself too broken in health to continue the active work of the episcopate, and wrote to the Archbishop of Tyana urgently appealing to him to provide for the appointment of another bishop. His request was granted, and his cousin Eulalius, a priest of holy life to whom he was much attached, was duly appointed to the See of Nazianzus. This was toward the end of the year 383, and Gregory, happy in seeing the care of the diocese entrusted to a man after his own heart, immediately withdrew to Arianzus, the scene of his birth and his childhood, where he spent the remaining years of his life in retirement, and in the literary labours, which were so much more congenial to his character than the harassing work of ecclesiastical administration in those stormy and troubled times.
Looking back on Gregory's career, it is difficult not to feel that from the day when he was compelled to accept priestly orders, until that which saw him return from Constantinople to Nazianzus to end his life in retirement and obscurity, he seemed constantly to be placed, through no initiative of his own, in positions apparently unsuited to his disposition and temperament, and not really calculated to call for the exercise of the most remarkable and attractive qualities of his mind and heart. Affectionate and tender by nature, of highly sensitive temperament, simple and humble, lively and cheerful by disposition, yet liable to despondency and irritability, constitutionally timid, and somewhat deficient, as it seemed, both in decision of character and in self-control, he was very human, very lovable, very gifted -- yet not, one might be inclined to think, naturally adapted to play the remarkable part which he did during the period preceding and following the opening of the Council of Constantinople. He entered on his difficult and arduous work in that city within a few months of the death of Basil, the beloved friend of his youth; and Newman, in his appreciation of Gregory's character and career, suggests the striking thought that it was his friend's lofty and heroic spirit which had entered into him, and inspired him to take the active and important part which fell to his lot in the work of re-establishing the orthodox and Catholic faith in the eastern capital of the empire. It did, in truth, seem to be rather with the firmness and intrepidity, the high resolve and unflinching perseverance, characteristic of Basil, than in his own proper character, that of a gentle, fastidious, retiring, timorous, peace-loving saint and scholar, that he sounded the war-trumpet during those anxious and turbulent months, in the very stronghold and headquarters of militant heresy, utterly regardless to the actual and pressing danger to his safety, and even his life which never ceased to menace him. "May we together receive", he said at the conclusion of the wonderful discourse which he pronounced on his departed friend, on his return to Asia from Constantinople, "the reward of the warfare which we have waged, which we have endured." It is impossible to doubt, reading the intimate details which he has himself given us of his long friendship with, and deep admiration of, Basil, that the spirit of his early and well-loved friend had to a great extent moulded and informed his own sensitive and impressionable personality and that it was this, under God, which nerved and inspired him, after a life of what seemed, externally, one almost of failure, to co-operate in the mighty task of overthrowing the monstrous heresy which had so long devastated the greater part of Christendom, and bringing about at length the pacification of the Eastern Church.
During the six years of life which remained to him after his final retirement to his birth-place, Gregory composed, in all probability, the greater part of the copious poetical works which have come down to us. These include a valuable autobiographical poem of nearly 2000 lines, which forms, of course, one of the most important sources of information for the facts of his life; about a hundred other shorter poems relating to his past career; and a large number of epitaphs, epigrams, and epistles to well-known people of the day. Many of his later personal poems refer to the continuous illness and severe sufferings, both physical and spiritual, which assailed him during his last years, and doubtless assisted to perfect him in those saintly qualities which had never been wanting to him, rudely shaken though he had been by the trails and buffetings of his life. In the tiny plot of ground at Arianzus, all (as has already been said) that remained to him of his rich inheritance, he wrote and meditated, as he tells, by a fountain near which there was a shady walk, his favourite resort. Here, too, he received occasional visits from intimate friends, as well as sometimes from strangers attracted to his retreat by his reputation for sanctity and learning; and here he peacefully breathed his last. The exact date of his death is unknown, but from a passage in Jerome (De Script. Eccl.) it may be assigned, with tolerable certainty, to the year 389 or 390.
Some account must now be given of Gregory's voluminous writings, and of his reputation as an orator and a theologian, on which, more than on anything else, rests his fame as one of the greatest lights of the Eastern Church. His works naturally fall under three heads, namely his poems, his epistles, and his orations. Much, though by no means all, of what he wrote has been preserved, and has been frequently published, the editio princeps of the poems being the Aldine (1504), while the first edition of his collected works appeared in Paris in 1609-11. The Bodleian catalogue contains more than thirty folio pages enumerating various editions of Gregory's works, of which the best and most complete are the Benedictine edition (two folio volumes, begun in 1778, finished in 1840), and the edition of Migne (four volumes XXXV - XXXVIII, in P.G., Paris, 1857 - 1862 SOURCE: EWTN

#PopeFrancis "Mary is exactly what God wants us to be...Devotion to Mary....is a requirement of the Christian life." FULL TEXT Homily + Mass Video


Pope Francis celebratedt Mass on New Year's Day, the Solemnity of the Mother of God. On 1 January, the Church also observes the World Day of Peace.

Full official English translation of Pope Francis' homily for the Mass on New Year's Day: Homily of His Holiness Pope FrancisSolemnity of Mary, Mother of God
1 January 2018
The year opens in the name of the Mother.  Mother of God is the most important title of Our Lady.  But we might ask why we say Mother of God, and not Mother of Jesus.  In the past some wanted to be content simply with the latter, but the Church has declared that Mary is the Mother of God.  We should be grateful, because these words contain a magnificent truth about God and about ourselves.  From the moment that our Lord became incarnate in Mary, and for all time, he took on our humanity.  There is no longer God without man; the flesh Jesus took from his Mother is our own, now and for all eternity.  To call Mary the Mother of God reminds us of this: God is close to humanity, even as a child is close to the mother who bears him in her womb.
The word mother (mater) is related to the word matter.  In his Mother, the God of heaven, the infinite God, made himself small, he became matter, not only to be with us but also to be like us.  This is the miracle, the great novelty!  Man is no longer alone; no more an orphan, but forever a child.  The year opens with this novelty.  And we proclaim it by saying: Mother of God!  Ours is the joy of knowing that our solitude has ended.  It is the beauty of knowing that we are beloved children, of knowing that this childhood of ours can never be taken away from us.  It is to see a reflection of ourselves in the frail and infant God resting in his mother’s arms, and to realize that humanity is precious and sacred to the Lord.  Henceforth, to serve human life is to serve God.  All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped.
Let us now be guided by today’s Gospel.  Only one thing is said about the Mother of God: “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).  She kept them.  She simply kept; Mary does not speak.  The Gospel does not report a single word of hers in the entire account of Christmas.  Here too, the Mother is one with her Son: Jesus is an “infant”, a child “unable to speak”.  The Word of God, who “long ago spoke in many and various ways” (Heb 1:1), now, in the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), is silent.  The God before whom all fall silent is himself a speechless child.  His Majesty is without words; his mystery of love is revealed in lowliness. This silence and lowliness is the language of his kingship.  His Mother joins her Son and keeps these things in silence.
That silence tells us that, if we would “keep” ourselves, we need silence.  We need to remain silent as we gaze upon the crib.  Pondering the crib, we discover anew that we are loved; we savour the real meaning of life.  As we look on in silence, we let Jesus speak to our heart.  His lowliness lays low our pride; his poverty challenges our outward display; his tender love touches our hardened hearts.  To set aside a moment of silence each day to be with God is to “keep” our soul; it is to “keep” our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting.
The Gospel goes on to say that Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.  What were these things?  They were joys and sorrows.  On the one hand, the birth of Jesus, the love of Joseph, the visit of the shepherds, that radiant night.  But on the other, an uncertain future, homelessness “because there was no place for them in the inn” (Lk 2:7), the desolation of rejection, the disappointment of having to give birth to Jesus in a stable.  Hopes and worries, light and darkness: all these things dwelt in the heart of Mary.  What did she do?  Shepondered them, that is to say she dwelt on them, with God, in her heart.  She held nothing back; she locked nothing within out of self-pity or resentment.  Instead, she gave everything over to God.  That is how she “kept” those things.  We “keep” things when we hand them over: by not letting our lives become prey to fear, distress or superstition, by not closing our hearts or trying to forget, but by turning everything into a dialogue with God.  God, who keeps us in his heart, then comes to dwell in our lives.
These, then, are the secrets of the Mother of God: silently treasuring all things and bringing them to God.  And this took place, the Gospel concludes, in her heart.  The heart makes us look to the core of the person, his or her affections and life.  At the beginning of the year, we too, as Christians on our pilgrim way, feel the need to set out anew from the centre, to leave behind the burdens of the past and to start over from the things that really matter.  Today, we have before us the point of departure: the Mother of God.  For Mary is exactly what God wants us to be, what he wants his Church to be: a Mother who is tender and lowly, poor in material goods and rich in love, free of sin and united to Jesus, keeping God in our hearts and our neighbour in our lives.  To set out anew, let us look to our Mother.  In her heart beats the heart of the Church.  Today’s feast tells us that if we want to go forward, we need to turn back: to begin anew from the crib, from the Mother who holds God in her arms.
Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life.  Looking to the Mother, we are asked to leave behind all sorts of useless baggage and to rediscover what really matters. The gift of the Mother, the gift of every mother and every woman, is most precious for the Church, for she too is mother and woman.  While a man often abstracts, affirms and imposes ideas, a woman, a mother, knows how to “keep”, to put things together in her heart, to give life.  If our faith is not to be reduced merely to an idea or a doctrine, all of us need a mother’s heart, one which knows how to keep the tender love of God and to feel the heartbeat of all around us.  May the Mother, God’s finest human creation, guard and keep this year, and bring the peace of her Son to our hearts and to our world. 

Gain a Plenary Indulgence on New Year's Day - January 1st - SHARE

Plenary Indulgences for 1st of January
The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum indicates that we can gain plenary indulgences on the 1st January. (Video Below)
A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, recite or sing the Veni Creator Spiritus.
Under the usual conditions, a plenary indulgence can be gained:
1. Sacramental confession within eight days
2. A prescribed good work (for Jan. 1 the recital of the Veni Creator)
3. Sacramental Holy Communion within eight days.
4. Prayers for the intentions of the Roman Pope (usually 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be)
5. Detestation of venial sin 
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Come, Holy Spirit / Veni, Creator Spiritus
 

English version:Latin version:
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Veni, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father,
Thou Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Hostem repellas longius, pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed, of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis surrexit,
ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula. Amen.

Rabanus Maurus (776-856) 

Happy New Year! 10 Easy Ways to make 2018 #Peaceful! - SHARE Change the World!


Dear Family in Jesus, JCE Catholic News World wishes you a blessed new year of 2018 and Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. Thank-you for your patronage - please keep us in prayer as we do you. 
May this year be a one of 
"Peace, requires the force of meekness, the force of nonviolence of truth and of love." as suggested by Pope Francis.
 "O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long. Be mindful of thy mercy, O LORD, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth..." (Psalm 25) 

10 Amazing New Year's Resolutions - That Can Change the World
1. Go to Church Every Sunday (or every day)
2. Pray Every Day (Rosary, Mercy Prayer)
3. Go to Confession Regularly (Every Week or Every Month)
4. Fast Every Week (Great for your figure - the best diet)
5. Smile at everyone
6. Forgive everyone on a daily basis
7. Practice Silence especially when angry
8. Read your Bible Daily
9. Do random acts of kindness Daily
10. Tell others about the love of Jesus

Also remember St. Mother Teresa's word:The fruit of silence is prayer
the fruit of prayer is faith
the fruit of faith is love
the fruit of love is service
the fruit of service is peace. 

Mother Teresa
Let us make the world peaceful in 2018 through small acts of kindness, love, forgiveness, silence, and suffering. World peace begins in your heart, then to your family, friends and the world. Above all let us pray and love God with all our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbor as ourselves. In Jesus and Mary, JCE Catholic News World
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#PopeFrancis "I invite you to pray for this, while together with you I entrust to Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, the 2018.." FULL TEXT + Video

SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD HE WORLD DAY OF PEACE

POPE FRANCIS - Full Text ANGELUS - Source: Vatican.va 

St. Peter's Square
Monday, 1 January 2018


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

On the first page of the calendar of the new year that the Lord gives us, the Church poses, as a stupendous miniature, the liturgical solemnity of Mary Most Holy Mother of God. On this first day of the new year, we fix our gaze on her, for resume, under its maternal protection, the path along the paths of time.

Today's Gospel (cf. Lk 2: 16-21) brings us back to the stable of Bethlehem. The shepherds arrive quickly and find Mary, Joseph and the Child; and they report the announcement given them by the angels, that is, that Newborn is the Savior. Everyone is astonished, while "Mary, for her part, kept all these things, pondering them in her heart" (v. 19). The Virgin makes us understand how to accept the Christmas event: not superficially but in the heart. It shows us the true way of receiving God's gift: to keep it in the heart and meditate on it. It is an invitation addressed to each of us to pray contemplating and tasting this gift that is Jesus himself.

It is through Mary that the Son of God assumes corporeity. But Mary's motherhood is not reduced to this: thanks to her faith, she is also the first disciple of Jesus and this "expands" her motherhood. It will be Mary's faith that provokes the first miraculous "sign" at Cana, which helps to arouse the faith of the disciples. With the same faith, Mary is present at the foot of the cross and receives the apostle John as a son; and finally, after the Resurrection, he becomes a prayerful mother of the Church on which the Holy Spirit descends with power on the day of Pentecost.

As a mother, Mary performs a very special function: she places herself between her Son Jesus and men in the reality of their privations, in the reality of their indigences and sufferings. Mary intercedes, as at Cana, aware that as a mother she can, indeed, have to make present to the Son the needs of men, especially the weakest and most disadvantaged. And it is precisely these people who are dedicated to the theme of the World Day of Peace that we celebrate today: "Migrants and refugees: men and women seeking peace", this is the motto of this Day. I would like once again to voice these brothers and sisters who call for a horizon of peace for their future. For this peace, which is the right of all, many of them are willing to risk their lives on a journey that in most cases is long and dangerous; they are ready to face hardships and sufferings (cf. Message for the World Day of Peace 2018, 1).

Please do not turn off the hope in their hearts; we do not stifle their peace expectations! It is important that everyone, civil institutions, educational, welfare and ecclesial realities are committed to ensuring refugees, migrants and everyone a future of peace. May the Lord grant us to work in this new year with generosity, generosity, to create a more supportive and welcoming world. I invite you to pray for this, while together with you I entrust to Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, the 2018 just begun. The old Russian monks, mystics, said that in times of spiritual turbulence it was necessary to gather under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God. Thinking of today's turbulence, and especially of migrants and refugees, we pray as they taught us to pray: "Under your protection we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God: do not despise the supplications of us who are in the trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin".
After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

on the threshold of 2018, I address to all my cordial wishes for every good for the new year, to all of you!

I would like to thank the President of the Italian Republic for the greetings he addressed to me last night in his Message for the end of the year, and I am looking forward to the Italian people for a year of serenity and peace, enlightened by God's constant blessing.

I express my appreciation for the many initiatives of prayer and action for peace, organized in every part of the world on the occasion of today's World Day of Peace. I am thinking, in particular, of the National March that took place last night in Sotto il Monte, promoted by CEI, Caritas Italiana, Pax Christi and Azione Cattolica. And I greet the participants in the "Peace in all lands" event, promoted in Rome and in many countries by the Community of Sant'Egidio. Dear friends, I encourage you to carry forward with joy your commitment to solidarity, especially in the suburbs of the cities, to foster peaceful coexistence.

I address my greeting to you, dear pilgrims present here, especially those of New York, the band from California and the "Pro Loco" group from Massalengo.

To all I renew the wish for a year of peace in the grace of the Lord and with the maternal protection of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Happy New Year, have a good lunch, and do not forget to pray for me. Goodbye!

#Novena to Mary Mother of God - Miracle #Prayer to SHARE

SHARE – PRAYER – NOVENA 
MARY MOTHER OF GOD
JANUARY 1 (Say 9 Times)
This Novena honours the nine months during which Our Lady carried Our Blessed Lord in her womb.
"Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen."
V - Pray for us, most holy mother of God.
R - That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
"Virgin of the Incarnation,
a thousand times we greet thee,
a thousand times we praise thee
for thy joy when God was incarnated in thee.
Because thou art so powerful
a Virgin and Mother of God,
grant what we ask of thee for the love of God."
Here state your first intention.
Repeat all of above and then state your second intention.
Repeat all of above and then state your third intention.
CONCLUSION:
After the above prayers and intentions, say the Memorare.
Remember, O most Gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help
or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of Virgins,
my mother.
To thee do I cry,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Amen.
Our Father...

Hail Mary...
Glory Be...
Blessed and praised be
the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar,
in Heaven, on earth and everywhere.
AMEN.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. January 1, 2018 - #Eucharist #Solemnity of Mary Mother of God


The Octave Day of Christmas
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Lectionary: 18


Reading 1NM 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
"Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them."

Responsorial PsalmPS 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8.

R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.

Reading 2GAL 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, "Abba, Father!"
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

AlleluiaHEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelLK 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem 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.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

#PopeFrancis "The Mother of the Incarnate Son, Theotokos, the Mother of God." #Vespers FULL TEXT + Video

The Celebration of Vespers in the Vatican Basilica on Sunday afternoon. The celebration concluded with the singing of the traditional Te Deum.

Please find below the full text of the Pope’s homily for Vespers in St Peter’s Basilica
"When the fullness of time came, God sent his Son" (Gal 4:4). This celebration of Vespers breathes the atmosphere of the fullness of time. It’s not because we are on the last evening of the solar year, far from it, but because faith makes us contemplate and feel that Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, gave fullness to time, both of the world and of human history.
«Born as a woman» (v.4). The first person to experience the sense of fullness given by the Jesus’ presence was precisely the "woman" from whom He was "born". The Mother of the Incarnate Son, Theotokos, the Mother of God. Through her, so to speak, the fullness of time has flowed: through her humble heart, so full of faith, and through her whole flesh saturated with the Holy Spirit.
From her the Church has inherited and continuously inherits this inner perception of fullness, which nourishes a sense of gratitude, as the only human response worthy of the immense gift of God. An overflowing gratitude, which, starting from the contemplation of that Child wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, extends to everything and everyone, throughout the whole world. It is a "thank you" that reflects Grace; it comes not from us but from Him; it comes not from the self, but from God, and involves both the self and the community.
In this atmosphere created by the Holy Spirit, we lift up to God our thanksgiving for the year that draws to a close, recognizing that all good is God’s gift.
Even the year 2017, which God gave us whole and healthy, we human beings have in many ways wasted and wounded it with works of death, with lies and injustices. Wars are the flagrant sign of this backsliding and absurd pride. But so are all the small and great offenses against life, truth, and solidarity, which cause multiple forms of human, social and environmental degradation. We desire to and must assume fully, before God, our brothers and Creation, our own responsibility.
But tonight the Grace of Jesus prevails and his reflection in Mary. Therefore, gratitude prevails, which, as Bishop of Rome, I feel in my soul, thinking of people who live with an open heart in this city.
I feel a sense of warmness and gratitude for all those people who contribute every day with small but precious and concrete actions to the good of Rome: they try to do their duty as best as possible; they confront its traffic with care and prudence; they respect public places and they point out things that are wrong; they pay attention to the elderly or those in difficulty, and so on. These and a thousand other behaviors express concretely their love for the city of Rome. Without speeches, without grandiosity, but with a type of civic education practiced in everyday life. And so they silently cooperate in the common good.
I also feel a great esteem for parents, teachers and all educators who, in this same manner, try to train children and young people in a civic sense and an ethic of responsibility, educating them to belong, to take care of themselves, and to take an interest in the reality that surrounds them.
These people, even if they do not make the news, are the majority of the people who live in Rome. And among them, many are in difficult economic conditions; yet they do not cry uselessly, nor do they harbor resentment and grudges, but they strive to do their part every day to improve things a little.
Today, in thanksgiving to God, I invite you to express also gratitude for these craftsmen of the common good, who love their city not only with words but with deeds.

Saint January 1 : Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - Holy Day of Obligation

Saint January 1 : Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - Holy Day of Obligationa
The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God is celebrated on January 1st and is a Holy Day of Obligation; meaning Catholics must attend Mass. The Solemnity falls exactly one week after Christmas, the end of the octave of Christmas. It is fitting to honor Mary as Mother of Jesus, at this time, following the birth of Christ. When we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God ,we are not only honoring Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God incarnate, but we are also honoring our Lord, who is fully God and fully human. Calling Mary "mother of God" is the highest honor we can give Mary. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the "Prince of Peace," the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God honors Mary as the "Queen of Peace" The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, falling on New Year's Day, is also designated the World Day of Peace. Text from 365Rosaries