Wednesday, December 30, 2020

⛪. this child Grew ⛪


Embrace the Darkness

Darkness is necessary. All life germinates in the dark and we spend fully one half of our lives in that state. Without pervasive darkness there would be no need for light, and still there are places and realities that light cannot illumine. Lightlessness also bears different aspects. It is the impenetrable cloak of mystery that hides the Holy and shades our lives with the nuance of not-knowing. Such darkness can both isolate and integrate us under its shadow. When plunged into blackness, our first instinct is to reach out for one another. Should we turn our headlights off, linger long enough in unknowing, and let our eyes adjust to the dimness, we might discover that most especially in dark times we are not alone.

—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace
by Joseph Grant


†Saint Quote
"When we serve the poor and the sick we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus."
— St. Rose of Lima

"If you would suffer with patience the adversities and miseries of this life, be a man of prayer. If you would obtain courage and strength to conquer the temptations of the enemy, be a man of prayer. If you would mortify your own will with all its inclinations and appetites, be a man of prayer. If you would know the wiles of Satan and unmask his deceits, be a man of prayer. If you would live in joy and walk pleasantly in the ways of penance, be a man of prayer. If you would banish from you soul the troublesome flies of vain thoughts and cares, be a man of prayer. If you would nourish your soul with the very sap of devotion, and keep it always full of good thoughts and good desires, be a man of prayer. If you would strengthen and keep up your courage in the ways of God, be a man of prayer. In fine, if you would uproot all vices from your soul and plant all virtues in their place, be a man of prayer. It is in prayer that we receive the unction and grace of the Holy Ghost, who teaches all things."
— St. Bonaventure, p. 25-26
The Ways of Mental Prayer

"No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel."
Hebrews 12:22-24


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St. Anysia of Salonika (d. c. 298 A.D.), also known as St. Anysia of Thessalonica, was born to wealthy and pious Christian parents near Thessalonica, Greece. After the death of her parents, while she was still a young lady, Anysia dedicated her life completely to Christ. She made private vows of chastity and poverty, spent her days in fasting and prayer, and gave her wealth to the poor. She lived under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Maximian, who declared that anyone who met a Christian could kill them without trial. One Sunday while on her way to church, St. Anysia was harassed by a Roman soldier. In one account he attempted to force her to make sacrifice to the pagan sun god. Anysia refused, declared her commitment to Christ, and spat in the soldier's face. Enraged, the soldier ran her through with his sword, winning Anysia the crowns of virginity and martyrdom. Her feast day is December 30.


The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Lectionary: 203
Reading 1

1 JN 2:12-17

I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name's sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


LK 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.


Daily Meditation: Luke 2:36-40

. . . Anna, the daughter of Phanuel. (Luke 2:36)

This past week, you've probably seen more than a few chubby-cheeked versions of baby Jesus' face. The images found in pictures, statues, and Christmas cards may have started to feel commonplace. If that's the case, Luke's account of the prophetess Anna is a great help in recapturing the wonder we can experience when we behold the face of God in Christ.

Unlike when he described Simeon wrapping baby Jesus in his arms, Luke did not relate how Anna, Mary, and Joseph interacted at the Temple. But the details that he did include tell us a lot.

Luke calls Anna the "daughter of Phanuel" (2:36), a name that literally means "the face of God." So from her very birth, Anna had figuratively beheld God. Now, in the Temple, she is privileged to gaze upon the one true God.

Luke also tells us that Anna is from the tribe of Asher—the son that caused Leah to say, "Women will call me fortunate," or "happy," as the Hebrew word is sometimes translated (Genesis 30:13).

The name Asher also means happy. So how much happier could an Asherite be than to find herself in the presence of God?

Finally, even Anna's age is significant. She is eighty-four years old, which represents the number twelve—for the twelve tribes of Israel—multiplied by the number seven, which signifies completeness. Luke includes Anna's age to remind us that God's revelation of himself in Jesus was the completion of all his promises. It's Luke's way of telling us that seeing Jesus is to see his faithfulness. Seeing Jesus is the remarkable realization that God doesn't want to be worshipped from afar; he wants to be with us in the most tangible, personal way.

In other words, seeing the face of Jesus this Christmas can bring us gratitude, awe, and peace. So why not put yourself in Anna's shoes? Try to imagine what it would be like to see a little baby and to recognize that you are in the presence of God, who is fulfilling his promises right before your eyes. After all, God has brought his promise of salvation to completion in Christ, not just for Anna, but for all of his sons and daughters. Even for you.

"Lord, how happy I am to behold your face!"

1 John 2:12-17
Psalm 96:7-10



Homes that are truly lived in won't always be ones of picture-perfect curation, but rather, they can, despite some occasional chaos, express their perfection as places where the very robust and real activity of family life can belong and flourish.
— Carrie Gress and Noelle Mering
from Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Homemaking


"Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
This is why our Lord asked that we hate the world, and if you tell this to non believers, they won't understand and simply call you a hater. All because you hate...sin. This is what the Word of the Lord teaches us, to hate the world that leads you to sin. I'm afraid though, we do not hate enough. We like sins. Flirting with sin. We like gossip. We like to put others in their place. We don't hate it. We like it. And you can't like it. That liking is not of Heaven, it is of worldly evils. The kind that leads to death and eternal death at that.


We pray: "Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire. Tremble before him, all the earth. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!".
Worship in Holy attire. How do you dress for Mass? It speaks volumes about your beliefs, about your honor, about what you hold true. There's an abbot that I know, a Carmelite leader and priest that says you cannot enter the Mass with scandalous dresses and guys in shorts. They say that at his Masses everyone is dressed up formally. Is that how we should all be? I ask you, what is a Sacrament? They say, it is an outward sign of an inward reality. What is happening on the exterior is happening on the interior. That is why we kneel and stand and sit at various parts of the Mass. So I ask, how are you dressed? It matters. What if nobody sees you really anyway? It still matters. When I'm in church alone, I still bow and kneel to the Altar and to the Tabernacle when nobody is around, because God sees. In Heaven there is a dress code and it matters. White robes, blood of martyrs. Everything matters to our Lord, even though we live in a world that says nothing matters.


In the Gospel we heard: "She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem."
She never left. There are some people that are always at church doing church things. Some little old ladies are sweethearts, some are accused of atrocious things. I see all sorts. But what does God see?

We hear about the prophetess, Anna. We hardly ever hear of a prophetess, until Jesus is born, and now we have tons and tons of prophetesses that we listen to, right? Think of saints and immediately women come to my mind. Mother Angelica of EWTN comes to mind and all the doctors of the church which are comprised of women too. I see mostly women in daily Mass. This is good, but...what about the men? What about the message? We can't be one without the other. Men need women and women need men, even though the worldly people say it isn't so. Lies.

I digress. She prophesied. She blessed them and blessed our Lord. We need to listen to the message.

Lord, we are here, presenting ourselves to You in the temple. Mary and Joseph were dressed for the occasion. We pray that we may honor you by blessing you with true worship, offering ourselves to Your majesty, because You are worthy of all Love....


Random online bible verse:

Isaiah 55 8-9
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.


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God Bless You! Peace

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