Christmas Novena

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Gaudete Sunday – Pope Benedict XVI

BENEDICT XVI

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square
Third Sunday of Advent, 14 December 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday, the Third Sunday in the Season of Advent, is called “Gaudete Sunday”: “rejoice”, because the Entrance Antiphon of Holy Mass takes up St Paul’s words in the Letter to the Philippians where it says: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice”. And immediately after he explains the reason, because “The Lord is at hand” (Phil 4: 4-5). This is the reason for joy. But what does “the Lord is at hand” mean? In what sense must we understand this “closeness” of God? The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians of Philippi, is evidently thinking of Christ’s return and invites them to rejoice because it is certain. Yet, St Paul in his Letter to the Thessalonians, warns that no one can know the moment of the Lord’s coming (cf. 1 Thes 5: 1-2) and puts people on guard against any kind of alarmism, as if Christ’s return were imminent (cf. 2 Thes 2: 1-2). Thus the Church, illumined by the Holy Spirit, already at that time understood increasingly better that God’s “closeness” is not a question of space and time but rather of love: love brings people together! This coming Christmas will remind us of this fundamental truth of our faith and in front of the manger we shall be able to savour Christian joy contemplating in the newborn Jesus the Face of God who made himself close to us out of love.

In this light, it gives me real pleasure to renew the beautiful tradition of the Blessing of the Christ Child figurines, the miniature statues of the Baby Jesus to be placed in the manger. I address you in particular, dear boys and girls of Rome, who have come this morning with your Baby Jesus figurines that I now bless. I invite you to join me, following attentively this prayer:

God, our Father
you so loved humankind
that you sent us your only Son Jesus,
born of the Virgin Mary,
to save us and lead us back to you.

We pray that with your Blessing
these images of Jesus,
who is about to come among us,
may be a sign of your presence and
love in our homes.

Good Father,
give your Blessing to us too,
to our parents, to our families and
to our friends.

Open our hearts,
so that we may be able to
receive Jesus in joy,
always do what he asks
and see him in all those
who are in need of our love.

We ask you this in the name of Jesus,
your beloved Son
who comes to give the world peace.

He lives and reigns forever and ever.
Amen.

And now let us recite together the prayer of the Angelus Domini, invoking Mary’s intercession so that Jesus, whose birth brings God’s Blessing to mankind, may be lovingly welcomed in all homes, in Rome and throughout the world.

God Is Near as Friend and Faithful Husband”

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Gaudete in Domino semper – Rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4: 4). Holy Mass of the Third Sunday of Advent opens with these words of St Paul and is therefore called “gaudete” Sunday. The Apostle urges Christians to rejoice because the Lord’s coming, that is, his glorious return, is certain and will not be delayed. The Church makes this invitation her own while she prepares to celebrate Christmas and her gaze is focused ever more intently on Bethlehem. Indeed, we wait with hope, certain of Christ’s second coming because we have experienced his first. The mystery of Bethlehem reveals to us God-with-us, the God close to us and not merely in the spatial and temporal sense; he is close to us because he has, as it were, “espoused” our humanity; he has taken our condition upon himself, choosing to be like us in all things save sin in order to make us become like him. Christian joy thus springs from this certainty: God is close, he is with me, he is with us, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as a friend and faithful spouse. And this joy endures, even in trials, in suffering itself. It does not remain only on the surface; it dwells in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and trusts in him.

Some people ask: but is this joy still possible today? Men and women of every age and social condition, happy to dedicate their existence to others, give us the answer with their lives! Was not Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta an unforgettable witness of true Gospel joy in our time? She lived in touch daily with wretchedness, human degradation and death. Her soul knew the trials of the dark night of faith, yet she gave everyone God’s smile. In one of her writings, we read: “We wait impatiently for paradise, where God is, but it is in our power to be in paradise even here on earth and from this moment. Being happy with God means loving like him, helping like him, giving like him, serving like him” (The Joy of Giving to Others, 1987, p. 143). Yes, joy enters the hearts of those who put themselves at the service of the lowly and poor. God abides in those who love like this and their souls rejoice. If, instead, people make an idol of happiness, they lose their way and it is truly hard for them to find the joy of which Jesus speaks. Unfortunately, this is what is proposed by cultures that replace God by individual happiness, mindsets that find their emblematic effect in seeking pleasure at all costs, in spreading drug use as an escape, a refuge in artificial paradises that later prove to be entirely deceptive.

Dear brothers and sisters, one can lose the way even at Christmas, one can exchange the true celebration for one that does not open the heart to Christ’s joy. May the Virgin Mary help all Christians and people in search of God to reach Bethlehem, to encounter the Child who was born for us, for salvation and for the happiness of all humanity.
© Copyright 2007 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2016/12/11/gaudete-sunday-pope-benedict-xvi/

Titles of Luisa for Dec. 16

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Titles of Luisa for Dec. 15

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Titles of Luisa for Dec. 14

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Feast Day of St. John of the Cross

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Titles of Luisa for Dec. 13

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Feast of Saint Lucy

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A virgin and martyr of Syracuse in Sicily, whose feast is celebrated by Latins and Greeks alike on 13 December.

According to the traditional story, she was born of rich and noble parents about the year 283. Her father was of Roman origin, but his early death left her dependent upon her mother, whose name, Eutychia, seems to indicate that she came of Greek stock.

Like so many of the early martyrs, Lucy had consecrated her virginity to God, and she hoped to devote all her worldly goods to the service of the poor. Her mother was not so single-minded, but an occasion offered itself when Lucy could carry out her generous resolutions. The fame of the virgin-martyr Agatha, who had been executed fifty-two years before in the Decian persecution, was attracting numerous visitors to her relics at Catania, not fifty miles from Syracuse, and many miracles had been wrought through her intercession. Eutychia was therefore persuaded to make a pilgrimage to Catania, in the hope of being cured of a hæmorrhage, from which she had been suffering for several years. There she was in fact cured, and Lucy, availing herself of the opportunity, persuaded her mother to allow her to distribute a great part of her riches among the poor.

The largess stirred the greed of the unworthy youth to whom Lucy had been unwillingly betrothed, and he denounced her to Paschasius, the Governor of Sicily. It was in the year 303, during the fierce persecution of Diocletian. She was first of all condemned to suffer the shame of prostitution; but in the strength of God she stood immovable, so that they could not drag her away to the place of shame. Bundles of wood were then heaped about her and set on fire, and again God saved her. Finally, she met her death by the sword. But before she died she foretold the punishment of Paschasius and the speedy termination of the persecution, adding that Diocletian would reign no more, and Maximian would meet his end. So, strengthened with the Bread of Life, she won her crown of virginity and martyrdom.

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2018/12/13/feast-of-saint-lucy/

Titles of Luisa for Dec. 12

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Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 12

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Our culture is in darkness, but we know that God’s grace and light pierce the darkness of sin to bring life and hope through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 12, 2018
“I am the merciful Mother of all mankind.  Am I not your hope?”
Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego

In contrast to the Culture of Death with its loss of life and hope, St. John Paul II called Our Lady of Guadalupe the Mother of Hope and the Mother and Evangelizer of America.

He went on to say, “Now is the time of the New Evangelization to lead the People of God in America to cross the threshold of the third millennium with renewed hope.” Our culture is in darkness, but we know that God’s grace and light pierce the darkness of sin to bring life and hope through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

As we celebrate the end of our 27th anniversary of Visitations of the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we continue to see that Our Lady of Guadalupe brings us hope!

Am I Not Your Hope?

Our Lady of Guadalupe said to St. Juan Diego, “Am I not your hope?” Mary is the Mother of Hope. She is the Mother of Jesus Christ who is our hope and brings life as the conqueror of despair and death. Through her, we should have the confident expectation of divine blessings such as the closing of abortion centers, conversions, healings and the manifestations of heartbeats in the Image and Holy Glitter on it. That is hope!

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2018/12/12/feast-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe-december-12-2/

Pope St. Damasus I

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From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Damasus_I

Pope Damasus I (/ˈdæməsəs/; c. 305 – 11 December 384) was Bishop of Rome, from October 366 to his death in 384. He presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture.[1] He spoke out against major heresies in the church (including Apollinarianism and Macedonianism) and encouraged production of the Vulgate Bible with his support for St. Jerome. He helped reconcile the relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Antioch, and encouraged the veneration of martyrs.

…Council of Rome of 382 and the Biblical canon

…One of the important works of Pope Damasus was to preside in the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of Sacred Scripture. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, states: A council probably held at Rome in 382 under St. Damasus gave a complete list of the canonical books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament (also known as the ‘Gelasian Decree‘ because it was reproduced by Gelasius in 495), which is identical with the list given at Trent. American Catholic priest and historian William Jurgens stated: “The first part of this decree has long been known as the Decree of Damasus, and concerns the Holy Spirit and the seven-fold gifts. The second part of the decree is more familiarly known as the opening part of the Gelasian Decree, in regard to the canon of Scripture: De libris recipiendis vel non recipiendis. It is now commonly held that the part of the Gelasian Decree dealing with the accepted canon of Scripture is an authentic work of the Council of Rome of 382 A.D. and that Gelasius edited it again at the end of the fifth century, adding to it the catalog of the rejected books, the apocrypha. It is now almost universally accepted that these parts one and two of the Decree of Damasus are authentic parts of the Acts of the Council of Rome of 382 A.D. (Jurgens, Faith of the Early Fathers)

Relations with the Eastern Church

The Eastern Church, in the person of St. Basil of Caesarea, earnestly sought the aid and encouragement of Damasus against an apparently triumphant Arianism. Damasus, however, harbored some degree of suspicion against the great Cappadocian Doctor of the Church. In the matter of the Meletian Schism at Antioch, Damasus—together with St. Athanasius, the patriarch of Alexandria, and his successor, Peter II of Alexandria—sympathized with the party of Paulinus as more sincerely representative of Nicene orthodoxy. On the death of Meletius he sought to secure the succession for Paulinus and to exclude Flavian.[23] He supported the appeal of the Christian senators to Emperor Gratian for the removal of the altar of Victory from the Senate House,[24] and lived to welcome the famous edict of Theodosius I, “De fide Catholica” (27 February 380),[25] which proclaimed as the religion of the Roman State that doctrine which Saint Peter had preached to the Romans and of which Damasus was head.[12]

During his papacy, Peter II of Alexandria was obliged for a while to seek refuge in Rome from the persecuting Arians. He was received by Damasus, who sympathised with him and gave him support against the Arians.[12] This reconciled the relations between the Catholic Church and the Church of Antioch, which both supported the Church of Alexandria.

Devotion to the martyrs

He also did much to encourage the veneration of the Christian martyrs,[26] restoring and creating access to their tombs in the Catacombs of Rome and elsewhere, and setting up tablets with verse inscriptions composed by himself, several of which survive or are recorded in his Epigrammata.[27]

Damasus rebuilt or repaired his father’s church named for Saint Laurence, known as San Lorenzo fuori le Mura (“St Lawrence outside the walls”), which by the 7th century was a station on the itineraries of the graves of the Roman martyrs. Damasus’ regard for the Roman martyr is attested also by the tradition according to which the Pope built a church devoted to Laurence in his own house, San Lorenzo in Damaso.

St. Damasus sat in the Chair of St. Peter for eighteen years and two months. His feast day is 11 December. He was buried beside his mother and sister in a “funerary basilica … somewhere between the Via Appia and Via Ardeatina“, the exact location of which is lost.[28]

Permanent link to this article: https://bookofheaven.org/2018/12/11/pope-st-damasus-i/

Titles of Luisa for Dec. 10

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