"For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God." St. Teresa of Avila
†Today's Meditation "While other martyrs suffered by sacrificing their own lives, the Blessed Virgin suffered by sacrificing her Son's life—a life that she loved far more than her own. So she not only suffered in her soul all that her Son endured in his body. In addition, the sight of her Son's torments brought more grief to her heart than if she had endured them all in her own person. No one can doubt that Mary suffered in her heart all the outrages that she saw inflicted on her beloved Jesus. Anyone can understand that the sufferings of children are also those of their mothers who witness them." — St. Alphonsus Liguori, p. 331 Cover image from the book, A Year with Mary, p331 An Excerpt From A Year with Mary, p331
"Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."" Isaiah 58:9-11 Catholic Coffee
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Pope St. Sylvester
Pope St. Sylvester (c. 250-335 A.D.) was born in Rome and raised as a Christian under the care of pious parents, and the religious instruction of a devout priest. He was later ordained to Holy Orders in Rome, and witnessed the outbreak of Christian persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. During this time he became well-known as a good and holy priest, so much so that when the Pope died, Sylvester was appointed the new Bishop of Rome. Little is known about Pope St. Sylvester other than the many important events in Church history that occurred under his pontificate. He was the reigning pope during the Council of Nicea which condemned the Arian heresy and established the Nicene Creed; he was the Holy Father who converted and baptized the Roman Emperor Constantine; Rome's greatest churches were built under his direction by Constantine, including St. John Lateran, St. Peter's, and Santa Croce; and the Church saw the beginnings of temporal prosperity and the establishment of the Christian Roman Empire. Sylvester was Pope from 314 A.D. until his death in 335 A.D. His feast day is December 31st.
The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Reading I 1 Jn 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.
Responsorial Psalm 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day. R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD. R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy. R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Alleluia Jn 1:14a, 12a
R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him he gave power to become the children of God. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Jn 1:1-18
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God. And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
Daily Meditation: John 1:1-18
The light shines in the darkness. (John 1:5)
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens wrote these famous words in 1859 as the opening to his novel A Tale of Two Cities, but they seem to encompass many people's reflections on the year 2021. The challenges we have faced in managing a global pandemic have probably felt like "the worst of times," while the joy of reconnecting after so many months of lockdowns and quarantines may feel like the best of times.
Great literature notwithstanding, today's Gospel reading gives us a different perspective as we reflect on the past year: John's hope-filled statement that "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5). John insists that even in our darkest times, God will continue to shine his light and his goodness on us. He is the one constant we can always rely on in all the ups and downs of life.
On this last day of the year, try to spend some extra time reflecting on the constancy of God's love and care for you and your loved ones. Look back and try to find the times that God's light has guided you this past year. Or look around you right now and look for signs that he is still guiding you through the good times and the not-so-good times. Look at how God's great mercy and love have sustained you during every challenge you faced this year. Don't worry if there are some situations in which you can't yet see his loving hand. Over time and with the blessings of hindsight, you will—and you will find comfort and encouragement when you do.
This upcoming year will surely have its share of joys and trials. None of us can tell what's waiting for us. But if you go into the year with trust in God's constancy, you'll be a lot more confident that your heavenly Father will carry you as often as you need him to. Whether you face the worst of times, the best of times, or a combination of both, know that you will never have to face it alone. Jesus, the light of the world, will be with you.
"Thank you, Lord, that your light continues to shine. Jesus, deepen my trust in you in the coming year."
1 John 2:18-21 Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13
From today's 1st Holy Scripture: "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." The anti-Christ has always existed. No need to wait for the end times. The anti-Christ has crucified Christ and continues to attempt to crucify His Body. But the body will only be crucified when offered up to the Lord, that is, surrendering totally to God's will.
We pray in Psalms: "The LORD comes, he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!"
We heard in the Gospel today: "What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
And so, we must deduce something, that if the anti-Christ is an avid and active force, it means that the Christ is active and avid in the world today.
And what is Christ? Messiah. What is Christ? Savior. Who is Christ? Our Lord Jesus.
Let us take heart. There is much doom and gloom, always has been, always will be, but there is also much hope, unless we do not want to see it. Yesterday I texted an alcoholic loved one "if you make a new year's resolution to get sober, I'll help". He wrote back "no thanks, I've been cursed with this, nothing we can do".
How can God help someone that doesn't want help? You see, I'm not God, but God reaches people through people. God is good. God is always offering the good. We must never give up on what is good. The faith. The love. Holiness. Obedience. All things pertaining to light, and light gives life. All things Christ are works of saving souls.
Let's pray: Lord, this worldly year has come to an end. It has ended for me with heartaches, illnesses, confusion, uncertainty, and the gloomy weather seems to fit the current state of life. I know You are shining beyond the clouds. I know You are waiting to disperse the gloom, and shine our souls with faith. I pray for all of us to wait for You, to call on You, and to Love You in each soul we encounter. I pray we can celebrate hope as we use our faith to grow to Heaven, to Your loving arms...forever.
from your brother in Christ, Adrian
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Random bible verse generator:
1 John 4:12–13 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
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