Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Memorial of Our Lady of Loreto : Thursday, December 10, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



 Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 184
Reading 1
IS 41:13-20
I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
 
 I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Responsorial Psalm
PS 145:1 AND 9, 10-11, 12-13AB
R. (8)  The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let them make known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
 
 
Alleluia
IS 45:8
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the clouds rain down the Just One,
and the earth bring forth a Savior.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
MT 11:11-15
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force. 
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. 
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come. 
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint December 10 : Our Lady of Loreto - Remembering the Home of Mary's Birth and where the Incarnation occurred

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
The title Our Lady of Loreto refers to the Holy House of Loreto, the house in which Mary was born, and where the Annunciation occurred, and to a statue of Our Lady which is found there.
It is the first shrine of international renown dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and has been a true Marian centre of Christianity for several centuries.
Flown By AngelsTradition has it that a band of angels scooped up the house from Nazareth in the Holy Land to save it.
From pillaging and destruction and transported it first to Tersatto, Dalmatia in 1291. It is said investigations at the time found the house was built of limestone, mortar and cedar wood. These materials were commonplace In Nazareth, but almost unobtainable in Dalmatia (Yugoslavia).
Then three years later, the little house was said to have been once more flown by angels this time to Recanati, where he did not stay long, and finally on to Loreto in Italy.
Today's BasilicaA vast Basilica with a huge dome has been built over the site of the Holy House. The Popes have always held the Shrine of
Loreto in special esteem, taking it directly under the authority because of the "divine mysteries which took place there".
Written at the door of the Basilica are the words: "The whole word has no place more sacred....for here was the word made flesh, and here was born the Virgin Mother..."
On entering the Basilica, one finds beneath the central dome, and just behind the high altar, a rectangular edifice of white marble, richly adorned with statues. However the white marble forms only a protective coat. The contrast between the exterior richness and the poverty of the interior is stark.
Inside are the plain, rough walls of a cottage of great antiquity, ten metres by five metres and about five metres high. In its original form the Holy House had only three walls because the eastern side, where the altar now stands, opened onto a Grotto.
In the centre of the House of Our Lady, there is a replica of a wooden statue of the Madonna. The original one, made of cedar of Lebanon, arrived at Loreto together
with the house, but has since been destroyed. The dark colour of the image represents the original image of Our Lady of Loreto, which was carved from wood and subsequently darkened over the centuries of being exposed to the soot from the oil lamps which burn in the Chapel. The original statue was destroyed by fire, and the friars determined that it would be most proper that the replacement statue reflect the darkened condition of the original prior to the destruction by fire.
Sacred OilsThere are seven oil lamps which burn continuously in the Shrine. Each day the lamps are filled with a special oil which will burn through the time the Chapel is open to pilgrims,
who come in their thousands. Prior to filling the lamps each day, what oil remains in the lamps is poured into small bottles. For centuries this oil, blessed by both a priest with a sacred blessing, and by Our Lady as it burns in the Shrine, has long been valued by pilgrims to the Shrine as an oil of blessing and healing.
The Pope's believe divine mysteries have taken place at the Shrine.
Papal MessagesOn 4 October, 1962, Pope John XX111 announced: "This is the lesson that comes from Nazareth: holy families blessed love and homely virtue, blossom with the warmth of ardent hearts that are full of generosity and good will."
The same theme was also taken up by Pope John Paul 11 when he went on a pilgrimage to Loreto on 8 September, 1979. He said:" The House of the Holy Family!
It was the first temple, the first church, on which the Mother of God shed her light through her motherhood. She irradiated it with the light which
comes from the great mystery of the Incarnation; from the mystery of her Son."
Pope John Paul 11 also expressed the hope that all the children belonging to the human family may have a roof over their heads and be given a home. The Holy Family of Nazareth is a model and the guardian of all Christian families. This is why the faithful invoke the Virgin of Loreto, Patroness of the family and of the home.
SEE ALSO: 

Beautiful Ancient Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary - Litany of Our Lady of Loreto - SHARE

SHARED FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY
IMAGE SHARE http://www.salvemariaregina.info/MarianShrines/Loretto.html

Pope Francis says "Even death trembles when a Christian prays, because it knows that everyone who prays has an ally stronger than it has: the Risen Lord. " FULL TEXT + Video



GENERAL AUDIENCE
Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, 9 December 2020

 

Catechesis on prayer - 18. The prayer of petition

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Let us continue our reflections on prayer. Christian prayer is fully human - we pray as humans, as what we are - it includes praise and supplication. Indeed, when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He did so with the “Our Father”, so that we might place ourselves in a relationship of filial trust with God, and ask Him all our questions. We implore God for the highest gifts: the sanctification of His name among men, the advent of His lordship, the realisation of His will for good in relation to the world. The Catechism recalls that: “There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming” (no. 2632).

 

 But in the “Our Father” we also pray for the simplest gifts, for the most of everyday gifts, such as “daily bread” - which also means health, home, work, everyday things; and it also means for  for the Eucharist, necessary for life in Christ; and we also pray for the forgiveness of sins - which is a daily matter; we are always in need of forgiveness - and therefore peace in our relationships; and finally, that He may help us face temptation and free us from evil.

To ask, to supplicate. This is very human. Let us listen to the Catechism again: “By prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to Him” (no. 2629).

If one feels bad because he has done bad things - he is a sinner - when he prays the “Our Father” he is already approaching the Lord. At times we can believe we do not need anything, that we are enough for ourselves, and we live in total self-sufficiency. This happens at times! But sooner or later this illusion vanishes. The human being is an invocation, that at times becomes a cry, often withheld. The soul resembles a dry, parched land, as the Psalm says (see Psalm 63:2). We all experience, at some time or another in our existence, the time of melancholy, of solitude. The Bible is not ashamed of showing our human condition, marked by disease, injustice, the betrayals of friends, or the threat of enemies. At times it seems that everything collapses, that the life lived so far has been in vain.  And in these situations, when it seems that everything is falling apart, there is only one way out: the cry, the prayer “Lord, help me!”. Prayer can open up a sliver of light in the densest darkness. “Lord, help me!”. This opens: it opens up the road, it opens up the path.

We human beings share this invocation of help with the rest of creation. We are not the only ones “praying” in this boundless universe: every fragment of creation bears the desire for God. And Saint Paul  himself expressed it in this way. He says: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly” (Rom 8:22-24). This is good. There resounds in us the multiform cry of creatures: of trees, of rocks, of animals. Everything yearns for fulfilment. Tertullian wrote: “Every creature prays; cattle and wild beasts pray and bend their knees; and when they issue from the layers and lairs, they look up heavenward with no idle mouth, making their breath vibrate after their own manner. Nay, the birds too, rising out of the nest, upraise themselves heavenward, and instead of hands, expand the cross of their wings, and somewhat to seem like prayer” (De oratione, XXIX). This is a poetic expression commenting on what Saint Paul says: “the whole creation has been groaning”. But we are the only ones to pray consciously, knowing that we are addressing the Father, and entering into dialogue with the Father.

Therefore, we should not be shocked if we feel the need to pray,  we should not be ashamed. And, especially when we are in need, to ask. Jesus, speaking of a dishonest man, who had to settle the accounts with his landlord, says this: “Ask, I am ashamed”. And many of us have this feeling: we are ashamed to ask, to ask for help, too ask something of someone who can help us, to reach our purpose, and we are also ashamed to ask God. “No, this can’t be done”. Do not be ashamed to pray. “Lord, I need this”, “Lord, I am in difficulty”, “Help me!”: the cry, the cry of the heart to God who is the Father. And also to do so in happy moments, not only in bad times, but also in happy ones, to thank God for everything that is given to us, and not to take anything for granted or as if it were owed to us: everything is grace. We must learn this. The Lord always gives to us, always, and everything is grace, everything. The grace of God. However, we must not suffocate the supplication that rises up in us spontaneously. Prayer of petition goes in step with acceptance of our limit and our nature as creatures. One may even not reach the point of belief in God, but it is difficult not to believe in prayer: it simply exists, it presents itself to us as a cry; and we all know this inner voice that may remain silent for a long time, but one day awakens and cries out.

And, brothers and sisters, we know that God will respond. There is no prayer in the Book of Psalms that raises a lament that remains unheard. God always answers: maybe today, tomorrow, but he always answers, in one way or another. He always answers. The Bible repeats it countless times: God listens to the cry of those who invoke Him. Even our reluctant questions, those that remain in the depths of our heart, that we are ashamed to express: the Father listens to them and wishes to give us the Holy Spirit, which inspires every prayer and transforms everything. Brothers and sisters, in prayer there is always a question of patience, always, of supporting the wait. Now we are in the time of Advent, a time that is typically of expectation; of expectation of Christmas. We are in waiting. This is clear to see. But all our life is also in waiting. And prayer is always in expectation, because we know that the Lord will answer. Even death trembles when a Christian prays, because it knows that everyone who prays has an ally stronger than it has: the Risen Lord. Death has already been defeated in Christ, and the day will come when everything will be final, and it will no longer scorn our life and our happiness.

Let us learn to stay in waiting; in expectation of the Lord. The Lord comes to visit us, not only in these great feasts - Christmas, Easter - but rather the Lord visits us every day, in the intimacy of our heart if we are in waiting. And very often we do not realise that the Lord is nearby, that He knocks on our door, and we let Him pass on by. “I am afraid of God when He passes”, Saint Augustine used to say. “I am afraid He will pass and I will not realise”. And the Lord passes, the Lord comes, the Lord knocks. But if your ears are filled with other noise, you will not hear the call of the Lord.

Brothers and sisters, staying in waiting: this is prayer. Thank you.


Special Greetings

I cordially greet the English-speaking faithful. On our Advent journey, may the light of Christ illumine our paths and dispel all darkness and fear from our hearts. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!



US Bishops' Chairmen Call on Government to End the Death Penalty in Advent - Recalling that Christ came to Save



Recalling the Meaning of Advent, 
U.S. Bishop Chairmen Call for End to Executions 
WASHINGTON —With more federal executions scheduled in December and January, two bishop chairmen call on the Administration to recall God’s mercy during Advent. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:

 “We’ve asked many times to stop the federal executions. In fact, last Advent, three bishops wrote that the resumption of federal executions was at odds with this season of anticipated redemption. But the executions resumed. Eight since July. Two more this week. Three in January. A new regulation will permit federal execution by means other than lethal injection, such as the electric chair.

“What does the birth of our Lord say to this? The Lord comes not to destroy, but to save. For the Second Sunday of Advent, we hear St. Peter counsel that the Lord ‘is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance’ (2 Pt. 3:9). Can we follow the Lord’s example?

“We are all sinners. Some have done terrible things. Victims need help. Justice is needed for peace. But executions solve nothing.      

“This Advent, the Lord comes to love us even though we don’t deserve it. Let us repent and embrace his gift. We call on President Trump and Attorney General Barr, in recognition of God’s unmerited gift of self-giving love: stop these executions.”   

For additional USCCB statements and resources on the death penalty and the recent resumption of federal executions:

  • In July of 2019, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, then-chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the administration to abandon plans to resume federal executions. 
  • In October 2019, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory* and Bishop Frank J. Dewane participated in a roundtable discussion for the World Day Against the Death Penalty.
  • Archbishop Coakley, Archbishop Gregory* and Bishop Dewane co-authored an op-ed in America Magazine in December 2019. 
  • The USCCB restated its opposition to the death penalty in an amicus curiae brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2020.  
  • Archbishop Coakley called on Attorney General Barr and President Trump to reverse course on the executions after the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals of the death row inmates in June 2020.
  • Archbishop Coakley and Archbishop Naumann issued a statement in August 2020 urging the administration to stop the executions. 
  • Archbishop Coakley and Archbishop Naumann issued a statement in September 2020 asking the administration to forgo the executions. 
  • Archbishop Coakley and Archbishop Naumann renewed their call to end executions in a statement in November 2020. 
  • A USCCB action alert continues to allow Catholics to raise their voices in opposition to the death penalty. 

*Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Francis on November 28, 2020. 

FULL TEXT Release: USCCB

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church



Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 183
Reading 1
Is 40:25-31
To whom can you liken me as an equal?
says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
and see who has created these things:
He leads out their army and numbers them,
calling them all by name.
By his great might and the strength of his power
not one of them is missing!
Why, O Jacob, do you say,
and declare, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know
or have you not heard?
The LORD is the eternal God,
creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint nor grow weary,
and his knowledge is beyond scrutiny.
He gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.
Responsorial Psalm
103:1-2, 3-4, 8 and 10
R.    (1)  O bless the Lord, my soul!
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R.    O bless the Lord, my soul!
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R.    O bless the Lord, my soul!
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R.    O bless the Lord, my soul!
  
Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel
Mt 11:28-30
Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint December 9 : St. Juan Diego the Witness of the Miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico


Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaelogical and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua" (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions. (Biography continues below video)
Prayer to Saint Juan Diego from USCCB: 
Saint Juan Diego, you are our first American indigenous saint.
Please pray that God the Father would protect all migrants through his Son, Jesus Christ. 
Ask the Father to pour out the love of the Holy Spirit upon all who are isolated, alone and separated by choice or necessity from their native lands.
May those torn away from their families and forced to leave their country to find work elsewhere be reunited: husbands with wives and parents with children.
We ask especially for migrant women and children who are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of human trafficking. Give them your protection and shield them from evil.
May we as a Church receive the grace to welcome with love migrants who enter into our country, seeking a home in our parishes and communities.
We ask for your prayers and intercession for all immigrants
who are desperate, alone and in need of God's loving support.
And we ask Our Lady, who appeared to you as your Mother and Mother of all in our land, to wrap her mantle of protection around all migrant people.
We beg for her love, compassion, help and protection on all immigrants who today experience great sufferings, sorrows, necessities and misfortunes. Amen.

 Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.
When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.
With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.
Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 by Pope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.
The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the "New World" today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego.
Text : Vatican.va