Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

“What man knows all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ…? Scripture says: Although he was rich he became poor for our sake to enrich us by his poverty. He showed himself poor when he assumed our mortal nature and destroyed death, yet he promised us riches, for he had not been robbed of his wealth but was keeping it in reserve…. The only Son of God became a son of man to make many men sons of God. He instructed slaves by showing himself in the form of a slave, and now he enables free men to see him in the form of God.”

~St.Augustine~

“God, who became present here on earth, truly dwells in Mary. Mary becomes his tent. What all the cultures desire—that God dwell among us—is brought about here. St. Augustine says: “Before conceiving the Lord in her body she had already conceived him in her soul.” She had made room for the Lord in her soul and thus really became the true Temple where God made himself incarnate, where he became present on this earth.”

~Pope Emeritus Benedict~

“Your yearning for the peace of eternity is good and holy, but it needs to be balanced by complete submission to divine wishes. It is better to do God’s will on earth than to have joy in paradise. St. Teresa’s motto was that it was better to suffer than to die. Purgatory is sweet when you suffer out of love for God. The trials that the Lord is giving and will give you are all signs of divine favor and will be jewels for your soul. Dear ones, the winter will pass and eternal spring will arrive, and it will be as rich in beauty as the storms were harsh. The fog that you are experiencing is an indication of God’s proximity to you.”

~St.Padre Pio (To the Ventrella sisters, December 11, 1916)~

“The time of Advent is a time of hope. Jesus wants us to love Him. It is His desire that we be holy, very much His own.”

~St. Josemaria Escriva~

“Since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith. For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

~1 CORINTHIANS 1: 21–25~

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water; the abode where the jackals lurk will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.”

~Isaiah 35: 5-7~

Reflection

In Advent we celebrate the miraculous transformations Isaiah talks about: the lame leaping and streams of water bursting forth in the desert. We also celebrate seemingly ordinary events, the birth of two babies, John the Baptist and Jesus, that are part of the unfolding of God’s salvation plan. In every event of our lives, God is there, with His mercy and love and purpose. God desires that all should feel His mercy and love just as the desert sands would experience the overflowing spring.

PRAYER

All-knowing God, you desire that all persons on earth reach the fullness of the humanity you have given us through knowing you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. For this purpose, you have placed within us an unquenchable desire for truth and love. Until we realize that you, great God, are truth that has no measure and love that has no bounds, we search in vain, misled by error and self-seeking. Be light in our lives and do not cease

to probe and pursue us until we belong entirely to you. Amen.

Try in a special way today to witness to the truth in a situation that you recognize as a threat to the integrity of a person whose reputation may be at stake.

Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Monday of the Second Week of Advent Meditation

“There must always be a relationship between the gift and the recipient.There is no point in giving anyone a treasure he cannot use.A father would not give a boy with no talent for music a Stradivarius violin.Neither will God give to egocentrics those gifts and powers and energies that they never propose to put to work in the transformation of their lives and Souls.”

~Venerable Fulton J.Sheen~

“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”

~Romans 12:2

“With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.The Lord does not delay his promise…but he is patient…not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,and then the heavens will pass away…and the earth and everything done on it will be found out”

~2 Peter 3:8-10

“When the same poor people come…a second time,I treat them with greater gentleness,and I do not let them see that I know they have been there before…and then they speak to me freely about their troubles and needs.I treat as my Master would.Sometimes more is given when giving nothing,than when giving much in a rude manner”

~St.Faustina~

“We are not called to the same state and the Holy Spirit dosent work in all Souls in the same way.He blows as he wills and where he wills”

~St.Padre Pio~

Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, He comes with vindication; With divine recompense He comes to save you.

~Isaiah 35: 4~

Reflection

In a world where political instability threatens long established order, where crime in our country seems out of control and unstoppable, there seems to be plenty to be afraid of. Isaiah reminds us that God’s power is beyond anything on this earth that could frighten us. “Be strong” and “fear not” this Advent.

Is having a frightened heart different that just being afraid? The kind of fear we have in our hearts is usually fear for people we love. God’s care encompasses them as well. Trust God’s power.

PRAYER

Loving Father, as the Church leads us through this holy season toward the celebration of the coming of Christ, we thank you for the gift of this precious Son whose presence in our lives is the assurance that we shall, indeed, have the grace to continue the time of waiting during the coming weeks. We know, too, that Christ’s coming coming is the sign that the road ahead, beyond Advent and Christmas, will take us in faith and hope toward the goal to which you call us: eternal life in our true home with you. Amen.

Find someone today with whom you can share the meaning of Christ’s presence in your life and your deep gratitude to God for the gift of his beloved Son with whom you can cry, “Abba, Father!”

Saturday of the First Week of Advent

“In today’s consumer society, this period of Advent has unfortunately suffered a sort of commercial “pollution” that risks changing its authentic spirit, marked by recollection, moderation and joy, which is not external but intimate. It is thus providential that almost as a portal to Christmas there should be the feast of the one who is the Mother of Jesus and who, better than anyone else, can lead us to know, love and adore the Son of God made man. Let us therefore allow her to accompany us; may her sentiments prompt us to prepare ourselves with heartfelt sincerity and openness of spirit to recognize in the Child of Bethlehem the Son of God who came into the world for our redemption. Let us walk together with her in prayer and accept the repeated invitation that the Advent liturgy addresses to us to remain in expectation—watchful and joyful expectation—for the Lord will not delay: he comes to set his people free from sin.

~Pope Emeritus Benedict~Angelus December 11, 2005

The Truth which abides in the bosom of the Father, is sprung out of the earth to dwell also in the bosom of a mother. The Truth which contains the world, is sprung out of the earth to be borne in the hands of a woman. The Truth which is the food of incorruption for the angels, is sprung out of the earth to receive milk from the breasts of woman. The Truth which the heavens cannot contain, is sprung out of the earth to be placed in a manger!… Wake up, O man—it was for you that God was made man!

~St.Augustine~

“What is Peace? Peace is the tranquility of order…body to sour and of man to God.

There are two births of Christ. One unto this world in Bethlehem, the other in the soul when it is spiritually reborn..both result from a kind of Divine invasion.

What can I Give?

There is only one thin in the world that is really our own–and that is our will…Our will is ours for all eternity. That is why the most precious gift that one can give is another in his will.

There were only two classes of people who heard the cry Christmas night: shepherds and wise men. Shepherds: those who know they know nothing. Wise men: those who know they do not know everything. Only the very simple and very learned discovered God — never the man with one book.

The Christmas gift of peace was the uncoiling of the links of a triple chain that first unites a person with God, then with himself, then with his neighbor.

~Venerable Fulton J Sheen~

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place? “The clean of hand and pure of heart, who has not given his soul to useless things, what is vain. He will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from his saving God. Such is the generation that seeks him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.” Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter. Who is this king of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in war. Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter. Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the king of glory.

~PSALM 24: 3–10

PRAYER

Great God! You knock at the doors of our hearts calling us to contemplate the mystery of a God-made-man, the wonder of a woman chosen to be the Mother of God! How can we take one step toward the goal of all our Advent seeking and waiting? Help us to persevere in the assurance that Jesus and Mary are with us to lead us out of darkness into light, out of error into the blessed grace of your faithful love and care. Amen.

Take a quiet moment today to offer the Hail Mary in the spirit of the Archangel Gabriel who first brought to Mary the announcement of the choice God had made of her to bring about the wonder of the Incarnation.

Friday of the First Week of Advent

“The question is: Is the humanity of our time still waiting for a Savior? One has the feeling that many consider God as foreign to their own interests. Apparently, they do not need him. They live as though he did not exist and, worse still, as though he were an “obstacle” to remove in order to fulfill themselves. Even among believers—we are sure of it—some let themselves be attracted by enticing dreams and distracted by misleading doctrines that suggest deceptive shortcuts to happiness. Yet, despite its contradictions, worries and tragedies, and perhaps precisely because of them, humanity today seeks a path of renewal, of salvation, it seeks a Savior and awaits, sometimes unconsciously, the coming of the Savior who renews the world and our life, the coming of Christ, the one true Redeemer of man and of the whole of man.

~Pope Emeritus Benedict ,General Audience December 20, 2006

“My brethren, what miracles! What prodigies! The laws of nature are changed in the case of man. God is born. A virgin becomes pregnant with man. The Word of God marries the woman who knows no man. She is now at the same time both mother and virgin. She becomes a mother, yet she remains a virgin. The virgin bears a son yet she does not know man; she remains untouched, yet she is not barren. He alone was born without sin, for she bore him without the embrace of a man, not by the concupiscence of the flesh but by the obedience of the mind.”

~St Augustine

“Who has measured with his palm the waters, marked off the heavens with a span, held in his fingers the dust of the earth, weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did he consult to gain knowledge? Who taught him the path of judgment, or showed him the way of understanding?… To whom can you liken God?… Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is God from of old, creator of the ends of the earth…. They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint”.

ISAIAH 40: 12–14, 18, 28, 31

PRAYER

Wondrous God, all that you have created overwhelms us with its grandeur and splendor beyond anything we can begin to imagine! You have gifted us with insight and the ability to continue to unfold the hidden treasures of your creation. And yet all that we see and know fades before this amazing, unheard of reality: the Incarnation of your beloved Son and the grace and beauty of the woman chosen to be his Mother. May I grow in thanksgiving for this extraordinary gift. Amen.

Cherish the grace of the liturgical season in which the Church invites you to enter into the mystery of the Incarnation through some sign of your love for Jesus and Mary that you are able to offer God today.

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️Man Should Not Scrutinize This Sacrament in Curiosity, But Humbly Imitate Christ and Submit Reason to Holy FaithThe Voice of Christ Beware of curious and vain examination of this most profound Sacrament, if you do not wish to be plunged into the depths of doubt. He who scrutinizes its majesty too closely will be overwhelmed by its glory.

God can do more than man can understand. A pious and humble search for truth He will allow, a search that is ever ready to learn and that seeks to walk in the reasonable doctrine of the fathers.

Blest is the simplicity that leaves the difficult way of dispute and goes forward on the level, firm path of God’s commandments. Many have lost devotion because they wished to search into things beyond them.

Faith is required of you, and a sincere life, not a lofty intellect nor a delving into the mysteries of God. If you neither know nor understand things beneath you, how can you comprehend what is above you? Submit yourself to God and humble reason to faith, and the light of understanding will be given you so far as it is good and necessary for you. Some are gravely tempted concerning faith and the Sacrament but this disturbance is not laid to them but to the enemy.

Be not disturbed, dispute not in your mind, answer not the doubts sent by the devil, but believe the words of God, believe His saints and prophets and the evil enemy will flee from you. It is often very profitable for the servant of God to suffer such things. For Satan does not tempt unbelievers and sinners whom he already holds securely, but in many ways he does tempt and trouble the faithful servant.

Go forward, then, with sincere and unflinching faith, and with humble reverence approach this Sacrament. Whatever you cannot understand commit to the security of the all-powerful God, Who does not deceive you. The man, however, who trusts in himself is deceived. God walks with sincere men, reveals Himself to humble men, enlightens the understanding of pure minds, and hides His grace from the curious and the proud.

Human reason is weak and can be deceived. True faith, however, cannot be deceived. All reason and natural science ought to come after faith, not go before it, nor oppose it. For in this most holy and supremely excellent Sacrament, faith and love take precedence and work in a hidden manner.

God, eternal, incomprehensible, and infinitely powerful, does great and inscrutable things in heaven and on earth, and there is no searching into His marvelous works. If all the works of God were such that human reason could easily grasp them, they would not be called wonderful or beyond the power of words to tell.

~The Imitation of Christ~

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

The Burning Love and Strong Desire to Receive Christ

The Disciple

With greatest devotion and ardent love, with all affection and fervor of heart I wish to receive You, O Lord, as many saints and devout persons, most pleasing to You in their holiness of life and most fervent in devotion, desired You in Holy Communion.

O my God, everlasting love, my final good, my happiness unending, I long to receive You with as strong a desire and as worthy a reverence as any of the saints ever had or could have felt, and though I am not worthy to have all these sentiments of devotion, still I offer You the full affection of my heart as if I alone had all those most pleasing and ardent desires.

Yet, whatever a God-fearing mind can conceive and desire, I offer in its entirety to You with the greatest reverence and inward affection. I wish to keep nothing for self but to offer to You, willingly and most freely, myself and all that is mine.

O Lord God, my Creator and my Redeemer, I long to receive You this day with such reverence, praise, and honor, with such gratitude, worthiness and love, with such faith, hope, and purity as that with which Your most holy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, longed for and received You when she humbly and devoutly answered the angel who announced to her the mystery of the Incarnation: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.”

Likewise as Your blessed precursor, the most excellent of saints, John the Baptist, gladdened by Your presence, exulted in the Holy Ghost while yet enclosed in the womb of his mother, and afterward seeing Jesus walking among men, humbled himself and with devout love declared: “The friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice,”even so I long to be inflamed with great and holy desires and to give myself to You with all my heart.

Therefore I offer and present to You the gladness of all devout hearts, their ardent affection, their mental raptures, their supernatural illuminations and heavenly visions together with all the virtues and praises which have been or shall be celebrated by all creatures in heaven and on earth, for myself and all commended to my prayers, that You may be worthily praised and glorified forever.

Accept, O Lord my God, my promises and desires of giving You infinite praise and boundless benediction, which in the vastness of Your ineffable greatness are justly due You. This I render and desire to render every day and every moment of time, and in my loving prayers I invite and entreat all celestial spirits and all the faithful to join me in giving You praise and thanks.

Let all people, races, and tongues praise You and with the greatest joy and most ardent devotion magnify Your sweet and holy name. And let all who reverently and devoutly celebrate this most great Sacrament and receive it in the fullness of faith, find kindness and mercy in You and humbly pray for me, a sinner. And when they have received the longed-for devotion and blissful union, and, well consoled and wonderfully refreshed, have retired from Your holy, Your celestial table, may they deign to remember my poor soul. of God.

~The Imitation of Christ~

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

We Should Show Our Needs to Christ and Ask His Grace

The Disciple

O most kind, most loving Lord, Whom I now desire to receive with devotion, You know the weakness and the necessity which I suffer, in what great evils and vices I am involved, how often I am depressed, tempted, defiled, and troubled.

To You I come for help, to You I pray for comfort and relief. I speak to Him Who knows all things, to Whom my whole inner life is manifest, and Who alone can perfectly comfort and help me.

You know what good things I am most in need of and how poor I am in virtue. Behold I stand before You, poor and naked, asking Your grace and imploring Your mercy.

Feed Your hungry beggar. Inflame my coldness with the fire of Your love. Enlighten my blindness with the brightness of Your presence. Turn all earthly things to bitterness for me, all grievance and adversity to patience, all lowly creation to contempt and oblivion. Raise my heart to You in heaven and suffer me not to wander on earth. From this moment to all eternity do You alone grow sweet to me, for You alone are my food and drink, my love and my joy, my sweetness and my total good.

Let Your presence wholly inflame me, consume and transform me into Yourself, that I may become one spirit with You by the grace of inward union and by the melting power of Your ardent love.

Suffer me not to go from You fasting and thirsty, but deal with me mercifully as You have so often and so wonderfully dealt with Your saints.

What wonder if I were completely inflamed by You to die to myself, since You are the fire ever burning and never dying, a love purifying the heart and enlightening the understanding.

~The Imitation of Christ~

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

The Grace of Devotion is Acquired Through Humility and Self-Denial

The Voice of Christ

You must seek earnestly the grace of devotion, ask for it fervently, await it patiently and hopefully, receive it gratefully, guard it humbly, cooperate with it carefully and leave to God, when it comes, the length and manner of the heavenly visitation.

When you feel little or no inward devotion, you should especially humiliate yourself, but do not become too dejected or unreasonably sad. In one short moment God often gives what He has long denied. At times He grants at the end what He has denied from the beginning of prayer. If grace were always given at once, or were present at our beck and call, it would not be well taken by weak humankind. Therefore, with good hope and humble patience await the grace of devotion.

When it is not given, or for some unknown reason is taken away, blame yourself and your sins. Sometimes it is a small matter that hinders grace and hides it, if, indeed, that which prevents so great a good may be called little rather than great. But if you remove this hindrance, be it great or small, and if you conquer it perfectly, you shall have what you ask. As soon as you have given yourself to God with all your heart and seek neither this nor that for your own pleasure and purpose, but place yourself completely in His charge, you shall find yourself at peace, united with Him, because nothing will be so sweet, nothing will please you so much as the good pleasure of His will.

Anyone, therefore, who shall with simplicity of heart direct his intention to God and free himself from all inordinate love or dislike for any creature will be most fit to receive grace and will be worthy of the gift of devotion. For where the Lord finds the vessel empty He pours down His blessing.

So also the more perfectly a man renounces things of this world, and the more completely he dies to himself through contempt of self, the more quickly this great grace comes to him, the more plentifully it enters in, and the higher it uplifts the free heart.

Then shall he see and abound, then shall his heart marvel and be enlarged within him, because the Hand of the Lord is with him and in the hollow of that Hand he has placed himself forever. Thus shall the man be blessed who seeks God with all his heart and has not regarded his soul in vain. Such a one, receiving the Holy Eucharist, merits the grace of divine union because he looks not on his own thoughts, nor to his own comfort, but above all devotion and consolation to the glory and honor of God.

~The Imitation of Christ~

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

The Ardent Longing of Devout Men for the Body of Christ.The Disciple How great is the abundance of Your kindness, O Lord, which You have hidden from those who fear You!

When I think how some devout persons come to Your Sacrament with the greatest devotion and love, I am frequently ashamed and confused that I approach Your altar and the table of Holy Communion so coldly and indifferently; that I remain so dry and devoid of heartfelt affection; that I am not completely inflamed in Your presence, O my God, nor so strongly drawn and attracted as many devout persons who, in their great desire for Communion and intense heart love, could not restrain their tears but longed from the depths of their souls and bodies to embrace You, the Fountain of Life. These were able to appease and allay their hunger in no other way than by receiving Your Body with all joy and spiritual eagerness. The faith of these men was true and ardent — convincing proof of Your sacred presence. They whose hearts burn so ardently within them when Jesus lives with them truly know their Lord in the breaking of bread.

Such affection and devotion, such mighty love and zeal are often far beyond me. Be merciful to me, O sweet, good, kind Jesus, and grant me, Your poor suppliant, sometimes at least to feel in Holy Communion a little of the tenderness of Your love, that my faith may grow stronger, that my hope in Your goodness may increase, and that charity, once perfectly kindled within me by tasting heavenly manna, may never fail.

Your mercy can give me the grace I long for and can visit me most graciously with fervor of soul according to Your good pleasure. For although I am not now inflamed with as great desire as those who are singularly devoted to You, yet by Your grace I long for this same great flame, praying and seeking a place among all such ardent lovers that I may be numbered among their holy company.

~The Imitation of Christ~

Morning Meditation

🌞Morning Meditation☀️

With All Her Heart the Devout Soul Should Desire Union with Christ in the Sacrament

The Disciple

Let it be granted me to find You alone, O Christ, to open to You my whole heart, to enjoy You as my soul desires, to be disturbed by no one, to be moved and troubled by no creature, that You may speak to me and I to You alone, as a lover speaks to his loved one, and friend converses with friend.

I pray for this, I desire this, that I may be completely united to You and may withdraw my heart from all created things, learning to relish the celestial and the eternal through Holy Communion and the frequent celebration of Mass.

Ah Lord God, when shall I be completely united to You and absorbed by You, with self utterly forgotten? You in me and I in You? Grant that we may remain so together. You in truth are my Beloved, chosen from thousands, in Whom my soul is happy to dwell all the days of her life. You are in truth my pledge of peace, in Whom is the greatest peace and true rest, without Whom there is toil and sorrow and infinite misery.

You truly are the hidden God. Your counsel is not with the wicked, and Your conversation is rather with the humble and the simple.

O how kind is Your spirit, Lord, Who in order to show Your sweetness toward Your children, deign to feed them with the sweetest of bread, bread come down from heaven! Surely there is no other people so fortunate as to have their god near them, as You, our God, are present everywhere to the faithful, to whom You give Yourself to be eaten and enjoyed for their daily solace and the raising of their hearts to heaven.

Indeed, what other nation is so renowned as the Christian peoples? What creature under heaven is so favored as the devout soul to whom God comes, to feed her with His glorious Flesh? O unspeakable grace! O wonderful condescension! O love beyond measure, singularly bestowed upon man!

What return shall I make to the Lord for this love, this grace so boundless? There is nothing I can give more pleasing than to offer my heart completely to my God, uniting it closely with His. Then shall all my inner self be glad when my soul is perfectly united with God. Then will He say to me: “If you will be with Me, I will be with you.” And I will answer Him: “Deign, O Lord, to remain with me. I will gladly be with You. This is my one desire, that my heart may be united with You.”

~The Imitation of Christ~