Thursday, December 31, 2015

THIS DAY'S....

Coming to you from Hobby Airport, Houston, TX!

~*~

This Day's Thought from The Ranch
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER
I’d like to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax,
I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day.  Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it again, I’d have more of them.  In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.  Just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.
Nadine Stair

This Day's Verse
And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

THE INCORRUPTIBLES - PART I (2010)

I published The Incorruptibles Parts I and II back in 2010. I was obviously fairly new to the blogging world, but some of my friends have been discussing this topic on Twitter, so I decided to post Parts I and II again. 

~*~

As a pentecostal convert to Catholicism, I have embraced hundreds of teachings and practices of the Church. One of the most mystical and interesting facets of this beautiful faith is that of the Incorruptibles. I want to run a series of posts on some of the 250 incurruptible saints. I hope you will enjoy this series of posts. Let's begin with a brief introduction taken from the Catholic Apologetics.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The incorrupt bodies of these saints are simply a living witness or proof to the truth of the Catholic religion as the one true faith from God, who has confirmed the testimony of the Church in the great miracles he has worked through it's saints.
The Council of Trent: 
"The bodies of holy martyrs and others now living with Christ, bodies which were His members and temples of the Holy Spirit, which one day are to be raised up by Him and made glorious in everlasting life, are to be venerated by the faithful; God gives men many benefits through them."
The Bodies of the saints for us are like great and holy relics, which move us to honor the saints who God has chosen to honor by preserving them incorrupt.

In scripture we read that the use of the bones of Elisha brought a dead man to life:
"So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet." (2 Kgs. 13:20-21).
A woman was cured of a hemorrhage by touching the hem of Christ's cloak (Matt. 9:20-22). The sick were healed when Peter's shadow passed over them (Acts 5:15-16).
"And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them" (Acts 19:11-12).
The Power of the relics to work miracles doesn't come from the object itself but from God, who confirms the faith of the person who is healed by means of them as to testify to the holiness of His saints.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Saint Bernadette Soubirous

Bernadette, born in 1844 of very poor parents in the town of Lourdes, France, spent most of her childhood in poor health. As she grew older, she was very slow at her studies and lost much school time due to severe asthma attacks. On February 11, 1858, when Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, she saw a very beautiful Lady standing above a rose bush in a grotto at Massabielle. The lovely Lady, dressed in blue and white, smiled at Bernadette and then made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell on her knees, took out her own rosary, and began to pray. The beautiful Lady was God’s Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to Bernadette during seventeen other apparitions; and during one of the last of these appearances, she instructed Bernadette to go further into the grotto and begin digging in the dirt with her hands. At first nothing happened; but soon the miraculous fountain, now known as the “Fountain of Lourdes,” began to flow forth from the ground where Bernadette had dug.

At the age of twenty-two, Bernadette became a Sister of Charity at Nevers, France. Although besieged by many of the faithful, she sought God in the silence of the cloister, serving Him in humility under the vows of her profession as a Sister of Charity. She lived in the convent for thirteen years, spending a large portion of this time ill in the infirmary. When a fellow nun accused her of being a “lazybones,” Bernadette said, “My job is to be ill.”

Sister Bernadette died on the 16th of April in 1879. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1933, Bernadette was canonized, thus fulfilling the promise that the Blessed Mother had made to her in 1858: “I do not promise to bring you happiness in this world, but in the next.”


St. Bernadette’s body, which to this day has never corrupted, lies in St. Gildard Convent in Nevers, France. After having been exhumed three times, her body was discovered to have slightly discolored in places; and in l925 an extremely light wax covering was made for her face and hands.

THE INCORRUPTIBLES (2010) PART II

Blessed Imelda Lambertini



Imelda, daughter of Count Egano Lambertini and Castora Galuzzi, was born in the year 1322 at Bologna, Italy. At an early age Imelda’s heart was turned toward God. Even though she lived in the days when it was not permitted to receive the Holy Eucharist until the age of fourteen, young Imelda’s greatest desire was to receive Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Oh how she longed and longed to receive Our Lord! When Imelda was under ten years old, she begged her father to allow her to enter the Dominican convent; and after much pleading, he finally consented to her desire.

Once in the convent, she again began to plead to receive Communion. Time and time again she received the same disappointment. “No, Sister Imelda, you are too young…” At the convent she took on many odd jobs. She attended the gate for the poor, she scrubbed the floors, and she did all that was asked of her—all for the honor and glory of almighty God.

On the 12th of May in the year 1333, when attending Mass with all of her Sisters, Imelda had the strongest desire to receive Our Lord. At the end of Mass, when all of the Sisters were leaving, they noticed Sister Imelda lovingly gazing toward the locked tabernacle. Some of the nuns looked at Imelda and noticed something white hovering above her. It was a Host. The nuns immediately notified the priest, who hurriedly came and carefully took the Host out of the air and placed It on a paten. Then he had no choice but to give the Host to Imelda. It was obviously God’s Will that she receive her first holy Communion. This first reception also proved to be her last; the rapture with which she received Our Lord was so great that it burst her heart. Imelda sank to the ground, unconscious. And when loving hands upraised her, it was found that she was dead. Blessed Imelda is the Patroness of First Communicants; and her beautifully incorrupt body can be seen in the Church of St. Sigismund at Bologna, Italy.




Incorrupt bodies



  • The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches regard it as a sign of holiness if a body does not decay in the normal way
  • Sometimes they are reported to exude a sweet smell
  • The bodies may be put on display, such as the body of St Bernadette of Lourdes, kept in a glass case in the cathedral of Nevers, in France
  • The picture above of Padre Pio was taken in 2008, six years after he was canonised by Pope John Paul II, and 40 years after his death

THE INCORRUPTIBLES - PART I (2010)

As a pentecostal convert to Catholicism, I have embraced hundreds of teachings and practices of the Church. One of the most mystical and interesting facets of this beautiful faith is that of the Incorruptibles. I want to run a series of posts on some of the 250 incurruptible saints. I hope you will enjoy this series of posts. Let's begin with a brief introduction taken from the Catholic Apologetics.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The incorrupt bodies of these saints are simply a living witness or proof to the truth of the Catholic religion as the one true faith from God, who has confirmed the testimony of the Church in the great miracles he has worked through it's saints.
The Council of Trent: 
"The bodies of holy martyrs and others now living with Christ, bodies which were His members and temples of the Holy Spirit, which one day are to be raised up by Him and made glorious in everlasting life, are to be venerated by the faithful; God gives men many benefits through them."
The Bodies of the saints for us are like great and holy relics, which move us to honor the saints who God has chosen to honor by preserving them incorrupt.

In scripture we read that the use of the bones of Elisha brought a dead man to life:
"So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet." (2 Kgs. 13:20-21).
A woman was cured of a hemorrhage by touching the hem of Christ's cloak (Matt. 9:20-22). The sick were healed when Peter's shadow passed over them (Acts 5:15-16).
"And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them" (Acts 19:11-12).
The Power of the relics to work miracles doesn't come from the object itself but from God, who confirms the faith of the person who is healed by means of them as to testify to the holiness of His saints.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saint Bernadette Soubirous

Bernadette, born in 1844 of very poor parents in the town of Lourdes, France, spent most of her childhood in poor health. As she grew older, she was very slow at her studies and lost much school time due to severe asthma attacks. On February 11, 1858, when Bernadette was sent with her younger sister and a friend to gather firewood, she saw a very beautiful Lady standing above a rose bush in a grotto at Massabielle. The lovely Lady, dressed in blue and white, smiled at Bernadette and then made the sign of the cross with a rosary of ivory and gold. Bernadette fell on her knees, took out her own rosary, and began to pray. The beautiful Lady was God’s Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. She appeared to Bernadette during seventeen other apparitions; and during one of the last of these appearances, she instructed Bernadette to go further into the grotto and begin digging in the dirt with her hands. At first nothing happened; but soon the miraculous fountain, now known as the “Fountain of Lourdes,” began to flow forth from the ground where Bernadette had dug.

At the age of twenty-two, Bernadette became a Sister of Charity at Nevers, France. Although besieged by many of the faithful, she sought God in the silence of the cloister, serving Him in humility under the vows of her profession as a Sister of Charity. She lived in the convent for thirteen years, spending a large portion of this time ill in the infirmary. When a fellow nun accused her of being a “lazybones,” Bernadette said, “My job is to be ill.”

Sister Bernadette died on the 16th of April in 1879. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1933, Bernadette was canonized, thus fulfilling the promise that the Blessed Mother had made to her in 1858: “I do not promise to bring you happiness in this world, but in the next.”


St. Bernadette’s body, which to this day has never corrupted, lies in St. Gildard Convent in Nevers, France. After having been exhumed three times, her body was discovered to have slightly discolored in places; and in l925 an extremely light wax covering was made for her face and hands.

Monday, December 28, 2015

MARY'S SONG

MARY'S SONG

Luke 1:46-55King James Version 

46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

~*~


How beautiful, Mary's Song! I had to read it several times because it says so much, not just about Mary, but how each of us should praise our Loving God. Handmaiden or mere man, I want for you to feel the great rejoice in your spirit that lies in your relationship with God, your Savior.

Of course, nobody, but for Mary, would ever be called blessed for all time. She is the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. She realizes that he has done great things to her, the highest of all, the Immaculate Conception and ultimate birth of God's child.

In short, Mary's Song reminds us of the ultimate will of God. That He will always be in charge and put people and things in their proper places. No matter wealth or pauper, mighty or weak, God will always have His Will over all peoples of the earth.

Give Him trust, faith, abiding love, reverence, and patience, as all prayers are answered according to His Will.

O God, bless our Heavenly Mother! Naturally, You made the PERFECT CHOICE!

Lovingly in Jesus,
ABBEY

Friday, December 25, 2015

THIS DAY'S THOUGHT, VERSE & SMILE



This Day's Thought from The Ranch
KEEPING CHRISTMAS
It is a good thing to observe Christmas day.  The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom.  It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life.  It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.
But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.
Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellowmen are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness–are you willing to do these things even for a day?  Then you can keep Christmas.
     Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open–are you willing to do these things even for a day?  Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world–stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death–and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?  Then you can keep Christmas.
     And if you keep if for a day, why not always?
But you can never keep it alone.
Henry Van Dyke

This Day's Verse
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Luke 2:8-14
The English Standard Version

This Day's Smile
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, December 24, 2015

GOD'S ETERNAL PLAN FOR MANKIND



THIS DAY'S THOUGHT AND VERSE


This Day's Thought from The Ranch
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,
Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine,
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright.
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas where children are hopeful and gay,
Christmas where old men are patient and gray,
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight,
Broods o’er brave men in the thick of the fight;
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all,
No palace too great, no cottage too small.
Phillips Brooks

This Day's Verse
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6-7
The English Standard Version

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

WHERE IS JESUS' GIFT?

Little Linda was allowed to pass out the Christmas gifts the Christmas Eve she learned to read.  According to family custom, the one who distributed the presents would be allowed to open the first gift.  After all the presents were distributed with care, Linda kept looking around the tree amongst the branches.  Her father asked, “Honey, what are you looking for?”  The little girl replied, “I thought Christmas was Jesus’ birthday and I was just wondering where His present is.  I guess everyone forgot Him.  Did they, Daddy?”
Eleanor Doan

~*~

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve everyone! When one of the biggest celebratory events of the year comes around, you're bound to see different stories like the above that are cute, but yet say so much.

When I watch the news or current events on television or when I read news on the internet, one thing is kept on the wire throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas and following Christmas - RETAIL SALES PROFITS $$!  You don't see commercials or news where commentators speak of Mary and Joseph, and the impending birth of the Savior to the World! Oh no! That is considered "politically incorrect!"  Imagine, Jesus, who was born through Immaculate Conception to a virgin name Mary, and who is the very Son of God, our creator, and His Son, made in His image has a moniker - Politically Incorrect!

I remember when I was working in a huge law firm, there was ONE lady who said that her family did not observe Christmas. At that time, our firm covered four and 1/2 floors of the building and we had a different Christmas tree on each floor. BUT, this one person caused such havoc, throwing around her voice and her threats of NAACP and ACLU that our firm took down all but one tree. There were 500 of us, but a single person who disagreed with our Christmas decorations took down a very powerful law firm with her tirade.

When I was growing up a mere 50 years ago, I don't think that the words "Politically (In)Correct" were even coined yet. Why has this world changed so much, and within five decades out of 2,000 years? We no longer "crucify" criminals, we don't "hang" or "behead" them. Why? Because we have become a numb society where nobody wants to fight against paying for three square meals a day for criminals, their televisions, computers, and beds. I'm so sure that it is a bummer to be incarcerated, but to what are you comparing this state of lifestyle?

But, back to the birth of our Lord and Savior, these are just some examples of how time has changed things in this country. Every country has their own way of punishing criminals. But I fully believe that the world over (except in Israel), people are pouring millions into buying gifts for CHRISTMAS, the time when you decorate a tree as pretty as possible and put lots of gifts for everyone underneath. Except, where is your gift for the Honoree of this Birthday Party?  "What?" you may say "can I give to Jesus?"

Let's begin with all the love you have in your heart and soul? Then you might want to pray to him and thank him for enduring such a barbaric crucifixion for YOUR salvation; dying for all sin for all time; giving everyone in this world until the end of time an opportunity to come to Him and be loyal followers of His Father God and Him; an appropriate prayer before your meal, giving thanks to the greatest man who ever walked the face of the earth; and keeping Jesus and his very primitive birth in the forefront of your thoughts, not to forget his mother and father, Mary and Joseph.

Jesus wants us to celebrate His birthday! He wants us to gather with those whom we love and celebrate this special time, but not forget the true meaning of this day, Christmas!


I wish you all a very Merry, Joyfilled and Peacefilled Christmas. I pray for those who are far away from their families defending threats to our homeland. I pray for those who are in hospitals all over and cannot come home for Christmas. I pray for the homeless, the hungry, the cold, the ones unwanted and who have no one to celebrate with, just the hope they can find a warm meal somewhere. I pray for the sick children who are battling disease; I pray for parents who have been forgotten by their families; and I could just go on and on.

So, follow my lead and make your biggest gift to Jesus thanksgiving and PRAYER for others!

Lovingly in Jesus Christ,
ABBEY


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

CHRISTMAS NOVENA - DAY 7


Christmas Novena

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires
(mention request here). 
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.


Seventh Day

Flight Of The Child Jesus Into Egypt.

Thought:
 Although the Son of God came from heaven to save men, scarcely was He born when men began to persecute Him to death. Herod, fearing that this Child would deprive Him of his kingdom, seeks to destroy His life. But St. Joseph is warned by an angel in a dream to take the Infant and His Mother and flee into Egypt. Joseph obeys at once, and tells Mary about it.
He takes the few tools of his trade, that he may use them to gain a livelihood in Egypt for himself and his poor family. Mary wraps up a small bundle of clothes for the use of her little Son, and then, going to the crib, she says with tears in her eyes to her sleeping Child, "O my Son and my God! Thou hast come from heaven to save men; but hardly art Thou born when they seek to take Thy life." Lifting Him meanwhile in her arms and continuing to weep, she sets out that same night with Joseph on the road to Egypt.

Let us consider how much these holy wanderers must have suffered in making so long a journey, deprived of every comfort. The divine Child was not yet able to walk, and so Mary and Joseph had to take turns in carrying Him in their arms. During their journey through the desert towards Egypt they had to spend several nights in the open air, with the bare ground for their bed. The cold makes the Infant cry, and Mary and Joseph weep in pity for Him. And who would not weep at thus seeing the Son of God poor and persecuted, a fugitive on earth, that he might not be killed by His enemies!
Prayer:
Dear Infant Jesus, crying so bitterly! Well hast Thou reason to weep in seeing Thyself persecuted by men whom Thou lovest so much. I, too, O God, have once persecuted Thee by my sins. But Thou knowest that now I love Thee more than myself, and that nothing pains me more than the thought that I have so often spurned Thee, my sovereign Good.

Forgive me, O Jesus, and let me bear Thee with me in my heart n all the rest of the journey that I have still to make through life, so that together with Thee I may enter into eternity. So often have I driven Thee from my soul by my sins. But now I love Thee above all things, and I regret above other misfortunes that I have offended Thee. I wish to leave Thee no more, my beloved Lord. But do Thou give me the strength to resist temptations. Never permit me to be separated from Thee again. Let me rather die than ever again lose Thy good grace.

O Mary, my hope, make me always live in God's love and then die in loving Him. Amen.


THIS DAY'S THOUGHT & SMILE - TUESDAY


~*~

I was just thinking to myself, with all of the angels speaking to humans on earth, even our God speaking to them, in this day and age it is unheard of. What would you think if an Angel truly appeared before you and began talking to you. Why, I think I would be on my hands and knees, and in a state of ecstasy. Where this type thing was commonplace in the early days of this world, it is not something you really hear about today.  I know that I hear God and Jesus talking to me, but somehow, I feel it irreverent to share what they say. Perhaps there are many people of many nations who hear the Lord, but we just do not hear about it.

Lovingly in Christ,
ABBEY

Monday, December 21, 2015

THIS DAY'S THOUGHT, VERSE AND SMILE


This Day's Thought from The Ranch
More light than we can learn,
More wealth than we can treasure,
More love than we can earn,
More peace than we can measure,
Because one Child is born.
Unknown

This Day's Verse
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”  But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 1:26-33
The New King James Version

This Day's Smile
Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.
Washington Irving

TODAY'S GOSPEL & THEN SOME

TODAY'S GOSPEL

Luke 1:39-45


39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechari'ah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."


~*~

We are nearing ever closer to the Celebration of the baby Jesus birthday! But have you ever given much thought to God's intention? God's plan was to send his son to be born of the Virgin Mary, personally chosen by him to carry his child, and for his son to represent Salvation for all the world. This, because God wanted to see everyone on earth inherit his Kingdom, it was His joy, delight and His gift to us.

Today, you might have a birthday celebration .with cake, ice cream, gifts and the customary singing "Happy Birthday" to the guest of honor. But God's birthday plan was overwhelmingly different. He gave .the gift of His son to the world to suffer and die for our sins, and this time of year gives us all a wonderful opportunity.

Not everyone is joyful and happy at Christmas. That is your perfect time to share the Good News with those who are lonely and do not feel the full joy of the birth of Jesus. Invite someone to go to Christmas Eve Mass with you.

In Jesus' case, a bright star shown to lead wise men to the stable where the baby Jesus lay in a manger Choirs of angels sang on high announcing the birth of the Son of God, the Son of Man. Jesus lay in his manger, covered in warmth by his mother, Mary, and earthly father, Joseph, in the freezing cold of the night. Shepherds drove their flocks guided by the bright star to the place of Jesus' birth. Wise men also followed the light bringing gifts to the newborn child. The animals in the stable, as if understanding that this was the most joyful time in history, gathered about and lay on the ground surrounding the manger.


This Christmas, how about making a resolution to be more vocal about God, Jesus and all things eternal just for the taking. Make it clear that leading a Christ-like life is not always easy, but that Christ is always with them, as he is with you. Be joyful and encouraging to those who have lost their way. Be inviting and warm, and be sure to tell them, "Jesus Loves You!"

As the prophet, Isaiah told the Lord, "Here I am . . . send me!" Isaiah 6:8  You, too, can pray to the Lord to send you, that you are ready for the task of bringing souls to Salvation.
Father, thank you for your great love for me and for the world! Give me courage, creativity, and compassion to share about your Son with others.”


Song of Songs 2:8-14
Luke 1:39-45
 Offered Lovingly in Jesus Christ,
ABBEY .

CHRISTMAS NOVENA - DAY 6


Christmas Novena

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires
(mention request here). 
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.


Sixth Day

God's Mercy Revealed In His Coming Down From Heaven To Save Us.

Thought: 


Saint Paul says, "The goodness and kindness of God, our Savior, has appeared." When the Son of God made Man appear on earth, then was it seen how great is God's goodness towards us. Saint Bernard says that first God's power was manifested in the creation of the world and His wisdom in its conservation, but His merciful goodness was especially manifested later in His taking human nature on Himself, in order to save fallen mankind by His sufferings and death. For what greater proof of His kindness towards us could the Son of God show us than in taking on Himself the punishment we had deserved?

See Him as a weak, newborn infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Unable to move or feed Himself, He has need of Mary to give Him a little milk to sustain His life. 


Or see Him again in Pilate's courtyard, tied with fast bonds to a column and there scourged from head to foot. Behold Him on the way to Calvary, falling down from weakness under weight of the cross that He must carry. Finally behold Him nailed to this tree of shame, on which He breathes His last amid pain and anguish. Because Jesus Christ wished that His love for us should win all the love of our hearts for Himself, He would not send an angel to redeem us, but chose to come Himself, to save us by His Passion and death. Had an angel been our redeemer, men would have had to divide their hearts in loving God as their Creator and an angel as their redeemer; but God, who desires men's whole hearts, as He was already their Creator, wished also to be their Redeemer.

Prayer:


Omy Dear Redeemer! Where should I be now, if Thou hadst not borne with me so patiently, but hadst called me from life while I was in the state of sin? Since Thou hast waited for me till now, forgive me quickly, O my Jesus, before death finds me still guilty of so many offenses that I have committed against Thee. I am so sorry for having vilely despised Thee, my sovereign Good, that I could die of grief. But Thou canst not abandon a soul that seeks Thee.

If hitherto I have forsaken Thee, I now seek Thee and love Thee. Yes, my God, I love Thee above all else; I love Thee more than myself. Help me, Lord, to love Thee always during the rest of my life. Nothing else do I seek of Thee. But this I beg of Thee, this I hope to receive from Thee.

Mary, my hope, do thou pray for me. If thou prayest for me, I am sure of grace. Amen.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

4th SUDAY OF ADVENT READINGS AND COMMENTS

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 12

Reading 1 Mi 5:1-4a

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

Reading 2 Heb 10:5-10

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

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

Gospel Lk 1:39-45

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

~*~

Brothers and Sisters,

On this fourth and final Sunday of Advent, I note that the focus is on women, specifically the Virgin Mary, her cousin Elizabeth and the babies that were in each one's womb. While Mary was very young when she conceived through the power of The Holy Spirit, her cousin Elizabeth was old, beyond conceiving and carry a child to term. But here they reunite when Mary goes to Judah to see her cousin. Is the movement of Elizabeth's baby in her womb at the presence of Mary with child mere coincidence, or miraculous? It was quite miraculous, enough so for Elizabeth to compel Elizabeth to tell Mary of it. The proof is in the fact that she, Elizabeth, was immediately filled with The Holy Spirit. You have surely been filled with The Holy Spirit in your lifetime, and if not, trust me, you KNOW when it occurs. It's all encompassing; it takes away your breath; you feel a chill from head to toe, and lastly, your hear physically feels fuller! What a blessing!

With the focus on these women and their children to be born, we need to think about our roles as mothers today and how we guide our children into adulthood. Mary was obviously a very attentive mother, yet Jesus would manage to escape from her view and she would always find him in the temple speaking with the elders with such intellect that it bowled them over.

Mothers and Fathers, your children cannot and will not always be within your sight. But when they are born and you begin to raise them, the earliest years are some of the most valuable in their teaching. They learn through your example about yelling, or not, kindness, or not, love, hugs, kisses and returning the same. Mary was an excellent mother, yet she knew that Jesus would always be guided by His Father, God. She accepted this as a tremendous blessing, and that would be putting is mildly. She raised Jesus the very best she could along with her husband, Joseph. But, she knew that one day, Jesus would leave the home and set about his journey of converting sinners for his Father God.

It is in this time, Christmas, that is it natural for children to look forward to Santa, toys and gifts under the Christmas tree.  However, it is crucial that you also teach them what Christmas means, what the birth of the infant Jesus means, and then continue your teaching based on Jesus' sermons for the remainder of their time with you.

Mothers are very special. They are able to form the bond with their children long before the father inasmuch as they carry the child in their wombs, the baby hears their voice, and they are nurtured from the mother's body during the term of their time before birth.

Mothers and Fathers, remember that a child is a miracle of God; that God expects you to do your best to raise that child to a productive, mindful, and kind Christian. Teach your children well, for the benefits to you are ten-fold, at the very least.

God bless you,
ABBEY

CHRISTMAS NOVENA

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND
GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE

With the busyness of Christmas, I have not been on my computer for two days. I apologize that I missed Day 4 of the Novena and include it herein with Day 5.

~*~

Christmas Novena

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires
(mention request here). 
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.


Fourth Day

The Life Of Humiliation Which Jesus Led From His Birth.

Thought:

The Sign which the angel gave the shepherds to help them find the newborn Savior, points to His lowliness: "This shall be a sign to you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." No other newborn baby who was wrapped in poor swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, could be found anywhere else but in a stable. Thus in lowliness the King of heaven, the Son of God, chose to be born, because He came to destroy the pride that had been the cause of man's ruin.

The prophets had already foretold that our Redeemer was to be treated as the vilest of men on earth and that He was to be overwhelmed with insults. How much contempt had not Jesus indeed to suffer from men! He was called a drunkard, a trickster, a blasphemer and a heretic. What ignominies He endured in His Passion! His own disciples abandoned Him; one of them sold Him for thirty pieces of silver, and another denied having ever known Him. He was led in bonds through the streets like a criminal; He was scourged like a slave, ridiculed as a fool, crowned with thorns as a mock king, buffeted and spit upon, and finally left to die, hanging on a cross between two thieves, as the worst criminal in the world. "The noblest of all," says Saint Bernard, "is treated as the vilest of all." But the Saint adds, "The viler Thou are treated, the dearer Thou art to me." The more I see Thee, my Jesus, despised and put to shame, the more dear and worthy of my love dost Thou become to me.

Prayer:
O Dearest Savior, Thou hast embraced so many outrages for love of me, yet I have not been able to bear one word of insult without at once being filled with resentful thought, I who have so often deserved to be trodden under foot by the demons in hell! I am ashamed to appear before Thee, sinful and proud as I am. Yet do not drive me from Thy presence, O Lord, even though that is what I deserve. Thou hast said that Thou wilt not spurn a contrite and humbled heart. I am sorry for the offenses I have committed against Thee. Forgive me, O Jesus. I will not offend Thee again.

For love of me Thou hast borne so many injuries; for love of Thee I will bear all the injuries that are done to me. I love Thee, Jesus, who was despised for love of me. I love Thee above every other good. Give me the grace to love Thee always and to bear every insult for love of Thee.

O Mary, recommend me to Thy Son; pray to Jesus for me.
Amen.

Fifth Day

The Life Of Sorrow Which Jesus Led From His Birth.

Thought:
Jesus Christ could have saved mankind without suffering and dying. Yet, in order to prove to us how much He loved us, He chose for Himself a life full of tribulations. Therefore the prophet Isaias called Him "a man of sorrows," His whole life was filled with suffering. His Passion began, not merely a few hours before His death, but from the the first moment of His birth. He was born in a stable where everything served to torment Him. His sense of sight was hurt by seeing nothing but the rough, black walls of the cave; His sense of smell was hurt by the stench of the dung from the beasts in the stable; His sense of touch was hurt by the prickling straw on which He lay. Shortly after His birth He was forced to flee into Egypt, where He spent several years of His childhood in poverty and misery. His boyhood and early manhood in Nazareth were passed in hard work and obscurity. And finally, in Jerusalem, He died on a cross, exhausted with pain and anguish.

Thus, then, was the life of Jesus but one unbroken series of sufferings, which were doubly painful because He had ever before His eyes all the sufferings He would have to endure till His death. Yet, since our Lord had voluntarily chosen to bear these tribulations for our sake, they did not afflict Him as much as did the sight of our sins, by which we have so ungratefully repaid Him for His love towards us. When the confessor of Saint Margaret of Cortona saw that she never seemed satisfied with all the tears she had already shed for her past sins, he said to her, "Margaret, stop crying and cease your lamenting, for God has surely forgiven you your offenses against Him." But she replied, "Father, how can I cease to weep, since I know that my sins kept my Lord Jesus in pain and suffering during all His life?"

Prayer:
O Jesus, my sweet Love! I too have kept Thee suffering through all Thy life. Tell me, then, what I must do in order to win Thy forgiveness. I am ready to do all Thou askest of me. I am sorry, O sovereign Good, for all the offenses I have committed against Thee. I love Thee more than myself, or a least I feel a great desire to love Thee. Since it is Thou who hast given me this desire, do Thou also give me the strength to love Thee exceedingly.

It is only right that I, who have offended Thee so much, should love Thee very much. Always remind me of the love Thou hast borne me, in order that my soul may ever burn with love of Thee and long to please Thee alone. O God of love, I, who was once a slave of hell, now give myself all to Thee.


Graciously accept me and bind me to Thee with the bonds of Thy love. My Jesus, from this day and forever in loving Thee will I live, and in loving Thee will I die.

O Mary, my Mother and my hope, help me to love Thy dear God and mine. This is the only favor I ask of thee, and through thee I hope to receive it. Amen.