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!”

Our Lady of Loretto

The title “Our Lady of Loreto” is associated with the Holy House of Loreto in Italy, the house of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, miraculously transported by the angels from Palestine to Europe.

The house of the Holy Family in Nazareth has always been the object of Christian veneration. Shortly after 313, St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, built a basilica over this holy abode. The Saracens invaded the Holy Land in 1090, plundering and destroying Christian shrines, including Constantine’s basilica. Under the ruble, the Holy House was found intact.

During the twelfth century, another basilica was built to protect the holy dwelling. In 1219 or 1220 St. Francis of Assisi visited the Holy House in Nazareth. So did King St. Louis IX of France, when he was leading a crusade to liberate the Holy Land.

In 1263, when the Muslims overpowered the crusaders, the basilica was again destroyed but, once more, the Holy House was found intact.

When the crusaders where completely driven out of the Holy Land in 1291, the Holy House disappeared.

On May 10, 1291 a parish priest, Fr. Alexander Georgevich in the town of Tersatto, Dalmatia, (present-day Croatia) noticed the sudden appearance of a small building resting on a plot of land. Puzzled, he prayed about it, and in a dream saw the Blessed Virgin Mary, who explained that the structure was the house of the Holy Family, brought there by the power of God.

In 1294, with the Moslem invasion of Albania, the house disappeared again. According to the testimony of shepherds, it was seen on December 10 of that year born aloft by angels over the Adriatic Sea. This time the Holy House came to rest in a wooded area four miles from Recanati, Italy. As the news spread fast, thousands flocked there, and many miracles took place at the site.

Due to contrary circumstances, twice again the house was moved, finally coming to rest in the town of Loreto, Italy, its present location.

As miracles continued to occur in connection with pilgrimages to the house, deputations were sent to Nazareth to determine its origins in 1292, in 1296, and in 1524. All three declared that the measurements of the house corresponded to the visible foundations of the house of Nazareth.

In 1871 at the suggestion of Cardinal Bartolini, Professor Ratti of the University of Rome was given mortar and stones from the house at Loreto, and similar materials from houses in Nazareth. Ignorant of which was which, Prof. Ratti ascertained that the composition of the material from the house of Loreto while not original to Italy was identical to that of the material from Nazareth.

Other striking facts about the house in Loreto are that it has no foundations. The walls rest on a plot that was part field and part road, a sure indication that it was not built there but placed there. The style of the house of Loreto is not Italian but Eastern. And the original door was on the long side of the house, indicating that it was a dwelling and not a church.

Today a great basilica houses the dwelling of the holiest of families. From 1330, practically all the Popes have considered Loreto the greatest shrine of Christendom. Bulls in favor of the shrine were issued by Pope Sixtus IV in 1491 and by Julius II in 1507. While the miracle of the translation of the house is not a matter of faith, Innocent XII, in the seventeenth century, appointed a special Mass for the Feast of the Translation of the Holy House. Numerous saints have visited the house-relic.

As pilgrims enter the small precinct, they read on the threshold, “Hic Verbum caro factum est” – “Here the Word became flesh”. Above the altar inside the holy house is an ancient statue of Our Lady holding the Infant Jesus, known as Our Lady of Loreto.

~Souce:America Needs Fatima

Sermon of St.Alphonsus Liguori~Second Sunday of Advent

SERMON II. SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT. – ON THE ADVANTAGES OF TRIBULATIONS.

” Now when John had heard of the wonderful works of Christ,” etc. MATT. ix. 2.

IN tribulations God enriches his beloved souls with the greatest graces. Behold, St. John in his chains comes to the knowledge of the works of Jesus Christ: ” When John had heard in prison the works of Christ.” Great indeed are the advantages of tribulations. The Lord sends them to us, not because he wishes our misfortune, but because he desires our welfare. Hence, when they come upon us we must embrace them with thanksgiving, and must not only resign ourselves to the divine will, but must also rejoice that God treats us as he treated his Son Jesus Christ, whose life, upon this earth was always full of tribulation. I shall now show, in the first point, the advantages we derive from tribulations; and in the second, I shall point out the manner in which we ought to bear them.

First Point. On the great advantages we derive from tribulations.

1. “What doth he know that had not been tried? A man that hath much experience shall think of many things, and he that hath learned many things shall show forth understanding.” (Eccl. xxxiv. 9.) They who live in prosperity, and have no experience of adversity, know nothing of the state of their souls. In the first place, tribulation opens the eyes which prosperity had kept shut. St. Paul remained blind after Jesus Christ appeared to him, and, during his blindness, he perceived the errors in which he lived. During his imprisonment in Babylon, King Manasses had recourse to God, was convinced of the malice of his sins, and id penance for them. “And after that he was in distress he prayed to the Lord his God, and did penance exceedingly before the God of his fathers.” (2 Paral. xxxiii. 12.) The prodigal, when he found himself under the necessity of feeding swine, and afflicted with hunger, exclaimed: ”I will arise and go to my father.” (Luke xv. 18.)

Secondly, tribulation takes from our hearts all affections to earthly things. When a mother wishes to wean her infant she puts gall on the paps, to excite his disgust, and induce him to take better food. God treats us in a similar manner: to detach us from temporal goods, he mingles them with gall, that by tasting its bitterness, we may conceive a dislike for them, and place our affections on the things of Heaven. ”God,” says St. Augustine, ”mingles bitterness with earthly pleasures, that we may seek another felicity, whose sweetness does not deceive.” (Ser. xxix., de Verb. Dom.)

Thirdly, they who live in prosperity are molested by many temptations of pride , of vain- glory; of desires of acquiring greater wealth, great honours, and greater pleasures. Tribulations free us from these temptations, and make us humble and content in the state in which the Lord has placed us. Hence the Apostle says: ”We are chastised by the Lord that we may not be condemned with this world.” (1 Cor. xi. 32.)

2. Fourthly, by tribulation we atone for the sins we have committed much better than by voluntary works of penance. “Be assured,” says St. Augustine, “that God is a physician, and that tribulation is a salutary medicine.” Oh! how great is the efficacy of tribulation in healing the wounds caused by our sins! Hence, the same saint rebukes the sinner who complains of God for sending him tribulations. ”Why,” he says, ”do you complain? What you suffer is a remedy, not a punishment.” (In Ps. lv.) Job called those happy men whom God corrects by tribulation; because he heals them with the very hands with which he strikes and wounds them. “Blessed is the man whom God correcteth. . . . For he woundeth and cureth. He striketh, and his hand shall heal.” (Job v. 17, 18.) Hence, St. Paul gloried in his tribulations: ”Gloriamur in tribulationibus.” (Rom. v. 3.)

3. Fifthly, by convincing us that God alone is able and willing to relieve us in our miseries, tribulations remind us of him, and compel us to have recourse to his mercy. ”In their affliction they will rise early to me.” (Osee vi. 1.) Hence, addressing the afflicted, the Lord said: ”Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you.” (Matt. xi. 28.) Hence he is called”a helper in troubles.” (Ps. xlv. 1 .) “When,” says David,” he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned.” (Ps. lxxvii. 34.) When the Jews were afflicted, and were slain by their enemies, they remembered the Lord, and returned to him.

4. Sixthly, tribulations enable us to acquire great merits before God, by giving us opportunities of exercising the virtues of humility, of patience, and of resignation to the divine will. The venerable John d’Avila used to say, that a single blessed be God: in adversity, is worth more than a thousand acts in prosperity. ”Take away,” says St. Ambrose, ”the contests of the martyrs, and you have taken away their crowns.” (In Luc., c. iv.) Oh! what a treasure of merit is acquired by patiently bearing insults, poverty, and sickness! Insults from men were the great objects of the desires of the saints, who sought to be despised for the love of Jesus Christ, and thus to be made like unto him.

5. How great is the merit gained by bearing with the inconvenience of poverty. ”My God and my all,” says St. Francis of Assisium: in expressing this sentiment, he enjoyed more of true riches than all the princes of the Earth. How truly has St. Teresa said, that”the less we have here, the more we shall enjoy hereafter.” Oh! how happy is the man who can say from his heart: My Jesus, thou alone art sufficient for me! If, says St. Chrysostom, you esteem yourself unhappy because you are poor, you are indeed miserable and deserving of tears; not because you are poor, but because, being poor, you do not embrace your poverty, and esteem yourself happy.”“Sane dignus es lachrymis ob hoc, quod miserum te extimas, non ideo quod pauper es.” (Serm, ii., Epis. ad Phil.)

6. By bearing patiently with the pains of sickness, a great, and perhaps the greater, part of the crown which is prepared for us in Heaven is completed. The sick sometimes complain that in sickness they can do nothing; but they err; for, in their infirmities they can do all things, by accepting their sufferings with peace and resignation. ”The Cross of Christ,” says St. Chrysostom, ”is the key of Paradise.” (Com. in Luc. de vir.)

7. St. Francis de Sales used to say . ”To suffer constantly for Jesus is the science of the saints; we shall thus soon become saints.” It is by sufferings that God proves his servants, and finds them worthy of himself. ”Deus tentavit es, et invenit eos dignos se.” (Wis. iii. 5) “Whom,” says St. Paul, “the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Heb. xii. 6.) Hence, Jesus Christ once said to St. Teresa: ”Be assured that the souls dearest to my Father are those who suffer the greatest afflictions.” Hence Job said: ”If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil ?” (Job. ii. 10.) If we have gladly received from God the goods of this Earth, why should we not receive more cheerfully tribulations, which are far more useful to us than worldly prosperity? St. Gregory informs us that, as flame fanned by the wind increases, so the soul is made perfect when she is oppressed by tribulations. ”Ignis flatu premitur, ut crescat.” (Ep. xxv.)

8. To holy souls the most severe afflictions are the temptations by which the Devil impels them to offend God: but they who bear these temptations with patience, and banish them by turning to God for help, shall acquire great merit. ”And,” says St. Paul, ”God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will also make issue with the temptation that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. x. 13.) God permits us to be molested by temptations, that, by banishing them, we may gain greater merit. ”Blessed,” says the Lord, ”are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. ”(Matt. v. 5.) They are blessed, because, according to the Apostle, our tribulations are momentary and very light, compared with the greatness of the glory which they shall obtain for us for eternity in Heaven. ”For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (1 Cor. iv. 17.)

9. It is necessary, then, says St. Chrysostom, to bear tribulations in peace; for, if you accept them with resignation, you shall gain great merit; but if you submit to them with reluctance, you shall increase, instead of diminishing, your misery”Si vero ægre feras, neque calamitatum minorem facies, et majorem reddes procellam” (Hom. Ixiv., ad Pop.) If we wish to be saved, we must submit to trials. ”Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts xiv. 21.) A great servant of God used to say, that Paradise is the place of the poor, of the persecuted, of the humble and afflicted. Hence St. Paul says: “Patience is necessary for you, that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise.” (Heb. x. 36.) Speaking of the tribulations of the saints, St. Cyprian asks”What are they to the servants of God, whom Paradise invites ?” (Ep, ad Demetr.) Is it much for those to whom the eternal goods of Heaven are promised, to embrace the short afflictions of this life?

10. In fine, the scourges of Heaven are sent not for our injury, but for our good. ”Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord, with which, like servants, we are chastised, have happened for our amendment, and not for our destruction.” (Judith viii. 27.)”God,” says St. Augustine, ”is angry when he does not scourge the sinner.” (In Ps. Ixxxix.) When we see a sinner in tribulation in this life, we may infer that God wishes to have mercy on him in the next, and that he exchanges eternal for temporal chastisement. But miserable the sinner whom the Lord does not punish in this life! For those whom he does not chastise here, he treasures up his wrath, and for them he reserves eternal chastisement.

11. ”Why,” asks the Prophet Jeremiah, ”doth the way of the wicked prosper?” (xii. 1.) Why, Lord, do sinners prosper? To this the same prophet answers: ”Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.” (Tb. v. 3.) As on the day of sacrifice the sheep intended for slaughter are gathered together, so the impious, as victims of divine wrath, are destined to eternal death. “Destine them,” says Du Hamel, in his commentary on this passage, “as victims of thy anger on the day of sacrifice.”

12. When, then, God sends us tribulations, let us say with Job: “I have sinned, and indeed I have offended, and I have not received what I have deserved.” (Job xxxiii. 27.) O Lord, my sins merit far greater chastisement than that which thou hast inflicted on me. We should even pray with St. Augustine, ”Burn cut spare not in this life, that thou mayest spare for eternity.” How frightful is the chastisement of the sinner of whom the Lord says: “Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice.” (Is. xxvi. 10.) Let us abstain from chastising the impious: as long as they remain in this life they will continue to live in sin, and shall thus be punished with eternal torments. On this passage St. Bernard says: “Misericordiam hanc nolo, super omnem iram miseratio ista.” (Serin, xlii., in Cant.) Lord, I do not wish for such mercy, which is a chastisement that surpasses all chastisements.

13. The man whom the Lord afflicts in this life has a certain proof that he is dear to God. ”And,” said the angel to Tobias, ”because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptations should prove thee.” (Tob. xii. 13.) Hence, St. James pronounces blessed the man who is afflicted: because after he shall have been proved by tribulation, he will receive the crown of life.” (Jam. i. 12.)

14. He who wishes to share in the glory of the saints, must suffer in this life as the saints have suffered. None of the saints has been esteemed or treated well by the world all of them have been despised and persecuted. In them have been verified the words of the Apostle: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. iii. 12.) Hence St. Augustine said, that they who are unwilling to suffer persecutions, have not as yet begun to be Christians. “Si putas non habere persecutiones, nondum cæpisti esse Christianus.” (In Ps. Iv.) “When we are in tribulation, let us be satisfied with the consolation of knowing that the Lord is then near us and in our company. ”The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart.” (Ps. xxxiii. 19.)”I am with him in tribulation.” (Ps. xc. 15.)

Second Point. On the manner in which we should bear tribulations.

15. He who suffers tribulations in this world should, in the first place, abandon sin, and endeavour to recover the grace of God; for as long as he remains in sin, the merit of all his sufferings is lost. ”If,” says St. Paul, ”I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) If you suffered all the torments of the martyrs; or bore to be burned alive, and were not in the state of grace, it would profit you nothing.

16. But, to those who can suffer with God, and with resignation for God’s sake, all the tribulations shall be a source of comfort and gladness. ”Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John xvi. 20.) Hence, after having been insulted and beaten by the Jews, the apostles departed from the council full of joy, because they had been maltreated for the love of Jesus Christ. ”And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.” (Acts v. 41.) Hence, when God visits us with any tribulations, we must say with Jesus Christ: ”The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?” (John xviii. 11.) It is necessary to know that every tribulation, though it may come from men, is sent to us by God.

17. When we are surrounded on all sides with tribulations, and know not what to do, we must turn to God, who alone can console us. Thus King Josaphat, in his distress, said to the Lord: “As we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to thee.” (2 Par. xx. 12.) Thus David also in his tribulation had recourse to God, and God consoled him: “In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and he heard me.” (Ps. cxix. 1.) We should turn to God, and pray to him, and never cease to pray till he hears us. ”As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us.” (Ps. cxxii. 2.) We must keep our eyes continually raised to God, and must continue to implore his aid, until he is moved to compassion for our miseries. We must have great confidence in the heart of Jesus Christ, and ought not to imitate certain persons, who instantly lose courage because they do not feel that they are heard as soon as they begin to pray. To them may be applied the words of the Saviour to St. Peter: “0 thou of little faith! why didst thou doubt?” (Matt. xiv. 31.) When the favours which we ask are spiritual, or can be profitable to our souls, we should be certain of being heard, provided we persevere in prayer, and do not lose confidence. ”All things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come unto you.” (Mark xi. 24.) In tribulations, then, we should never cease to hope with confidence that the divine mercy will console us; and if our afflictions continue, we must say with Job: ”Although he should kill me, I will trust in him.” (xiii. 15.)

18. Souls of little faith, instead of turning to God in their tribulations, have recourse to human means, and thus provoke God’s anger, and remain in their miseries. “Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.” (Ps. cxxvi. 1.) On this passage St. Augustine writes: “Ipse ædificat, ipse intellectum aperit, ipse ad finem applicat sensum vestrum: et tamen laboramus et nos tanquam operarii, sed nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem,” etc. All good all help must come from the Lord. Without him creatures can give us no assistance.

19. Of this the Lord complains by the mouth of his prophet: ”Is not,” he says, ”the Lord in Sion? . . .Why then have they provoked me to wrath with their idols. . . Is there no balm in Galaad? or is there no physician there? Why then is not the wound of the daughter of my people closed?” (Jer. viii. 19, 22.) Am I not in Sion? Why then do men provoke me to anger by recurring to creatures, which they convert into idols by placing in them all their hopes? Do they seek a remedy for their miseries? Why do they not seek it in Galaad, a mountain full of balsamic ointments, which signify the divine mercy? There they can find the physician and the remedy of all their evils. Why then, says the Lord, do your wounds remain open? Why are they not healed? It is because you have recourse not to me, but to creatures, and because you confide in them, and not in me.

20. In another place the Lord says: “Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a late ward springing land? Why then have my people said: We are revolted; we will come to thee no more ?. .But my people have forgotten me days without number.” (Jer. ii. 31, 32.) God complains, and says: ”Why, my children, do you say that you will have recourse to me no more? Am I become to you a barren land, which gives no fruit, or gives it too late? Is it for this reason that you have so long forgotten me? By these words he manifests to us his desire that we pray to him, in order that he may be able to give us his graces; and he also gives us to understand that when we pray to him, he is not slow, but instantly begins to assist us.

21. The Lord, says David, is not asleep when we turn to his goodness, and ask the graces which are profitable to our souls: he hears us immediately, because he is anxious for our welfare. “Behold, he shall neither slumber nor sleep that keepeth Israel.” (Ps. cxx. 4.) When we pray for temporal favours, St. Bernard says that God”will give what we ask, or something more useful.” He will grant us the grace which we desire, whenever it is profitable to our souls; or he will give us a more useful grace, such as the grace to resign ourselves to the divine will, and to suffer with patience our tribulations, which shall merit a great increase of glory in Heaven.

[Act of sorrow and amendment, prayer to Jesus and Mary.]

St.Juan Diego~Messenger of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Saint Juan Diego was born in 1474 as Cuauhtlatoatzin, a native to Mexico. He became the first Roman Catholic indigenous saint from the Americas.

Following the early death of his father, Juan Diego was taken to live with his uncle. From the age of three, he was raised in line with the Aztec pagan religion, but always showed signs of having a mystical sense of life.

He was recognized for his religious fervor, his respectful and gracious attitude toward the Virgin Mary and his Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, and his undying love for his ill uncle.

When a group of 12 Franciscan missionaries arrived in Mexico in 1524, he and his wife, Maria Lucia, converted to Catholicism and were among the first to be baptized in the region. Juan Diego was very committed to his new life and would walk long distances to receive religious instruction at the Franciscan mission station at Tlatelolco.

On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego was in a hurry to make it to Mass and celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. However, he was stopped by the beautiful sight of a radiant woman who introduced herself, in his native tongue, as the “ever-perfect holy Mary, who has the honor to be the mother of the true God.”

Mary told Juan Diego she was the mother of all those who lived in his land and asked him to make a request to the local bishop. She wanted them to build a chapel in her honor there on Tepeyac Hill, which was the site of a former pagan temple.

When Juan Diego approached Bishop Juan de Zumarraga telling of what happened, he was presented with doubts and was told to give the Bishop time to reflect on the news.

Later, the same day, Juan Diego encountered the Virgin Mary a second time and told her he failed in granting her request. He tried to explain to her he was not an important person, and therefore not the one for the task, but she instead he was the man she wanted.

Juan Diego returned to the Bishop the next day and repeated his request, but now the Bishop asked for proof or a sign the apparition was real and truly of heaven.

Juan Diego went straight to Tepeyac and, once again, encountered the Virgin Mary. After explaining to her what the Bishop asked, she agreed and told him she’d provide him with proof on the next day, December 11.

However, on the next day, Juan Diego’s uncle became very sick and he was obligated to stay and care for him. Juan Diego set out the next to find a priest for his uncle. He was determined to get there quickly and didn’t want to face the Virgin Mary with shame for missing the previous day’s meeting.

But the Virgin Mary intercepted him and asked what was wrong. He explained his situation and promised to return after he found his uncle a priest.

She looked at him and asked “No estoy yo aqui que soy tu madre?” (Am I not here, I who am your mother?) She promised him his uncle would be cured and asked him to climb to the hill and collect the flowers growing there. He obeyed and found many flowers blooming in December on the rocky land. He filled his tilma (cloak) with flowers and returned to Mary.

The Virgin Mary arranged the flowers within his cloak and told him this would be the sign he is to present to the bishop. Once Juan Diego found the bishop, he opened his cloak and the bishop was presented with a miraculous imprinted image of the Virgin Mary on the flower-filled cloak.

The next day, Juan Diego found his uncle fully healed from his illness. His uncle explained he, too, saw the Virgin Mary. She also instructed him on her desires to have a church built on Tepeyac Hill, but she also told him she wanted to be known with the title of Guadalupe.

News of Juan Diego’s miracle quickly spread, and he became very well-known. However, Juan Diego always remained a humble man.

The bishop first kept Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak in his private chapel, but then placed it on public display in the church built on Tepeyac Hill the next year.

The first miracle surrounding the cloak occurred during the procession to Tepeyac Hill when a participant was shot in the throat by an arrow shot in celebration. After being placed in front of the miraculous image of Mary, the man was healed.

Juan Diego moved into a little hermitage on Tepeyac Hill, and lived a solidarity life of prayer and work. He remained there until his death on December 9, 1548, 17 years after the first apparition.

News of Our Lady’s apparitions caused a wave of nearly 3,000 Indians a day to convert to the Christian faith. Details of Juan Diego’s experience and Mary’s words moved them deeply.

During the revolutions in Mexico, at the beginning of the 20th century, nonbelievers attempted to destroy the Image with an explosion. The altar?s marble steps, the flower-holders, and the basilica windows were all very damaged, but the pane of glass protecting the Image was not even cracked.

Juan Diego’s imprinted cloak has remained perfectly preserved from 1531 to present time. The “Basilica of Guadalupe” on Tepeyac Hill has become one of the world’s most-visited Catholic shrines.

St. Juan Diego was beatified on May 6, 1990 by Pope John Paul II and canonized on July 31, 2002. His feast day is celebrated on December 9 and he is the patron saint of Indigenous people.

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.