your eyes open!...
NOTEWORTHY: YEAR OF FAITH
THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN IN EARLY JANUARY 2013, GOD
WILLING (James 4:15).
(Luk 2:10-14) And
the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings
of great joy that shall be to all the people: For, this day is born to
you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this
shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in
swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the
angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: Glory
to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE 46TH WORLD
DAY OF PEACE
POPE LEO THE GREAT: Sermon 21 – On the Lord's Nativity
Our Saviour, dearly beloved, is
born today: let us rejoice. No trace of sadness may be permitted on
this birthday of Life. This day abolishes the fear of death and fills
us with joy by reason of the promise of eternal life. No-one is
excluded from a share in this eagerness. The joy is for one and all:
our Lord is the Destroyer of sin and death; he finds no-one free from
guilt, so he comes to set every-one free.
Let the Saint rejoice, for he shall
soon receive his palm; let the sinner be glad, for he is offered his
pardon; let the Gentile awake, for he is summoned to life. When the
fulness of time was come, that time ordained by the high and
inscrutable counsel of God, the Son of God took flesh from our human
nature, that he might reconcile that nature to its Creator, and that
the devil, the inventor of death, might be overcome by that same flesh
which had been the means of his victory.
God joins battle on our behalf, and
there is a great and wonderful equity in the battle-array; for Almighty
God comes forth to meet our raging foe, armed, not in his majesty, but
in our weakness. He meets him with the same body, the same nature, even
with a share of our mortality, yet with no spot of sin. How different
is this Child's birth from all others; it is written: No-one is free
from tainting sin, not even an infant that has lived but one day on the
earth. Now no spot of the concupiscence of the flesh had penetrated
into this unique Birth, no trace of the law of sin remained. A royal
virgin of the stem of David was chosen; she who was to be pregnant with
holy Fruit, conceived mentally before bodily that Offspring of hers who
was both human and divine. While the counsels of heaven were yet
unknown to her she was troubled at the strange annunciation, and so she
learned from her conversation with the Angel that it was by the
cooperation of the Holy Ghost that this thing was to happen to her: so
she believed that without loss of her virginity she was soon to be the
Mother of God.
Let us give thanks, dearly beloved,
to God the Father, through his Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit;
for God who is rich in mercy towards us, even when we were dead in our
sins hath quickened us together with Christ, and made us to be a new
creature in him, and a new workmanship. Let us put off the old man with
his deeds: and let us obtain a share in Christ's sonship, laying aside
the works of the flesh. O Christian, learn how great you have become,
you who have been made a partaker of the divine nature. Do not return
to the former vileness of your old and corrupt conversation. Remember
the Head and Body of which you are a member. Never forget that you have
been delivered out of the power of darkness and translated into the
light and kingdom of God.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! BLESSINGS
FOR A JOYOUS NEW YEAR! FROM THE ZAMBRANO FAMILY
Zambrano Family in Church Foyer after Adrianna
and daughter bathed in the Holy Spirit
and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor,
over-eagerness and strive to model your
interior and exterior upon the humble sweetness of the loving Heart of
Jesus, doing each of your actions with the same tranquility as if you
but that alone to do.
it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the
infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy
Ghost. And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou
among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to
me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as
the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb
leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those
things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.
Holy Father spoke of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her
cousin, Elisabeth – the episode narrated during the Gospel reading for
the day. “The episode,” said Pope Benedict, “does not represent a mere
gesture of courtesy, but dramatises with great simplicity the encounter
of the Old Testament with the New Testament.” The Holy Father explained
that the elderly and yet miraculously fertile Elisabeth represents
Israel awaiting the Messiah. Noting that the expression with which
Elisabeth greets Mary, “Blessed art thou among women,” is one that in
the Hebrew Scriptures is spoken to the warrior women Jael and Judith,
whose efforts saved the nation of Israel from peril, Pope Benedict
says, “Now, it is spoken to the gentle young woman who shall before too
long give birth to the Saviour of the World.” Pope Benedict went on to
say that the scene of the Visitation also expresses the beauty of
welcoming. “Wherever there are those who welcome one another, where
there is careful attention, wherever there are people who make room for
another,” he said, “there is God – and the joy that comes from Him."
Pio's Christmas Meditation
MEDITATION: Advent – The Time for our Spiritual Awakening by
Sr. Maximiliana Kroczak, CSMJ
EXCERPT FATHER CANTALAMESSA'S
3rd ADVENT SERMON: "I Bring You Tidings of Great Joy": Evangelizing
Let us return to the theme of joy. Where
does happiness come from? The ultimate source of joy is God, the
Trinity. But we are in time, whereas God is in eternity. How can joy
flow between two so distant points? Actually, if we delve more deeply
into the Bible, we discover that the immediate origin of joy is in
time: it is God’s action in history. God who acts! A divine action, at
the point where it “falls” upon history, causes a vibration and a wave
of joy that resounds for generations; indeed, when dealing with actions
bequeathed by Revelation, it resounds forever.
God’s action is always a miracle that fills heaven and earth with
wonder: “Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it” – exclaims
the prophet – “shout O depths of the earth!” (Is 44:23; 49:13). The joy
breaking forth from Mary’s heart, and from the hearts of the other
witnesses of the beginnings of salvation, is wholly based on this: God
has come to the help of Israel! God has done it! He has done great
How can this joy in God’s action reach the Church today, infecting her
with the same jubilant gladness? First, it reaches her by way of
remembrance, in the sense that the Church “remembers” God’s marvelous
works accomplished on her behalf. The Church is invited to make her own
the Virgin’s words: “The Almighty has done great things for me”. The
Magnificat is the canticle which Mary first intoned - as the coryphaeus
preceding the chorus- and has left to the Church, that its singing
might be prolonged through the centuries. Truly the Lord has done great
things for the Church over these last twenty centuries!
In a certain sense, we have greater reason for rejoicing than
Zachariah, Simeon, the shepherds and the early Church in general. She
went forth “bearing the seed for sowing”, as Psalm 126 says. She had
received God’s promises: “I am with you!” and his commands: “Go out to
all the world!” But we have seen these fulfilled. The seed has grown,
the tree of the Kingdom has become immense. The Church today is like
the sower who “returns with shouts of joy, bearing his sheaves”.
How many graces, how many saints, what great wisdom of doctrine and
wealth of institutions, and what salvation has been wrought in her and
through her! Which of Christ’s words has not found perfect fulfillment?
This word of his has been certainly fulfilled: “In the world you will
have tribulation” (Jn 16:33); but so has his other word: “The powers of
death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).
How rightly may the Church make her own the wonder of ancient Sion, and
say before the innumerable multitude of her children: “Who has borne me
these? I was bereaved and barren, but who has brought up these?” (Is
49:21) Who, looking back across the centuries with the eyes of faith,
would fail to see perfectly fulfilled in the Church the prophetic words
addressed to the new Jerusalem rebuilt after her exile: “Lift up your
eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar […] Your gates shall be open
continually; that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations” (Is
How many times over the course of these last twenty centuries has the
Church had to enlarge the “space of her tent”; that is, her capacity to
receive and to allow the human and cultural wealth of diverse peoples
to enter in! - even if this has not always happened promptly and
without resistance. To us - the children of the Church who are
nourished “from the abundance of her breasts” - the prophet’s
invitation is addressed: Rejoice and be glad for her, “shine with joy
for her” after having mourned over her (cf. Is 66:10-11).
Joy in God’s action reaches therefore believers today by way of
remembrance, for we see the great things the Lord has done for us in
the past. But it also reaches us in another and no less important way:
by way of presence, for we find that even now, in the present, God is
acting in our midst. He is acting in the Church.
EXCERPT: Praying for the grace of presence
The Visitation, this is the prototype experience of presence. As
Elizabeth listens—or as John listens—they recognize the presence of the
Savior, perhaps the first two persons, aside from Our Blessed Mother
and presumably St. Joseph, who recognize this presence.
As they listen, they continue to go beyond themselves and let go. And,
as Fr. Thomas Green, S.J., used to say often years ago in his talks and
in his book with a similar title, to “Let Go and let God.” John
listened, recognized, let go and “leaped for joy.” Elizabeth listened,
recognized, let go and “filled with the Holy Spirit cried out in a loud
voice” and praised Mary and announced the presence of the Savior.
This is one of the graces of Christmas. It is a season of special grace
to help us renew our sense of presence, the presence of the Savior in
our midst, in our life and work, in our families and communities. He is
truly God with us.
We pray in these final days of preparation for the great feast of
Christmas that we may be blessed with the grace of presence—to listen,
to go beyond and to let go and to allow the child in the manger,
God-with-us to lead us to make choices for “the evolution of life,”
making our world better, building more caring and loving communities;
lead us to the choice to live a life of grace, love and service in the
coming year and always; bring his presence into the lives of others.
and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor,
12. Above all, let
us carefully keep silence on
occasions that mortify us. Let us be charitable and humble, both
in our thoughts and words.
in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to
all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing,
by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be
made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all
understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
ACN: Advent 2012 in Bethlehem – Christmas behind the Wall
OPINION - Gaudete Sunday reveals 'how-to' guide for Faith
Third Sunday of Advent
Manila, Philippines – “REJOICE in the Lord always; again I say,
rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.” This passage taken from the
Entrance Antiphon in today’s liturgy sets the tone of preparations for
the coming of the Lord. Today is Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday of Rejoicing,
for today, the readings remind us that the Lord is indeed coming. It is
the Third Sunday of Advent.
The Prophet Zephaniah in the First Reading exhorts the Chosen People
for the Lord is in their midst and He is a mighty Savior – One who will
rejoice over them with gladness, and renew them in His love. He will
intervene on their behalf and will take away all their misery. (cf. Zep
3:14-18) In the Second Reading the Apostle Paul reminds the Philippians
and he tells us all today: “The peace of God that surpasses all
understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (cf.
In the Gospel reading, John the Baptist preaches to the people that One
mightier than he will come: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
His winnowing fan is in His had to clear His threshing floor and to
gather the wheat into His barn.” (See Lk 3:10-18)
John reminds the people and he tells us today: The coming of the Lord
must lead us to prepare ourselves. We must be faithful to the values of
the kingdom. We must not be attached to material possessions for God
alone can give us true joy and gladness.
The season of Advent
is a call to conversion. It is an invitation to turn back to God who
loves us. Let us take advantage of this moment to examine ourselves and
assess how far we have been missionaries of the love of God. In this
Year of Faith, let us commit ourselves to be authentic evangelizers of
the Good News. Let us do it with joy and love. In the Eucharist, we
encounter the God who loved us first and who alone can give us the joy,
a joy that cannot be taken away from us. Let us turn to him and say:
“Come, Lord Jesus!”
As we enter into the Third Week of the Advent Season, may we realize
that God is the source of our joy. He alone can satisfy our needs. Let
us turn to Him for the times that we have forgotten Him for we have
been preoccupied with the accumulation of wealth. Let us heed the call
of John the Baptist. Let us prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus,
the source of joy for all of humanity.
EXCERPT FATHER CANTALAMESSA'S 1ST ADVENT
Year of the Lord's Favor"
St. Augustine in his commentary addresses a question to the evangelist.
"Why", he asks, "did you write your letter, if those whom you were
addressing had already received the anointing that teaches all things
and if they had no need that anyone instruct them? Why, indeed, do we
speak and instruct the faithful?" And here is his response, which is
based on the theme of the interior Master:
"The sound of our words strikes the ear, but the true Master is within
[…] I, for my part, have spoken to all; but they to whom that Unction
within speaks not, they whom the Holy Ghost within teaches not, those
go back untaught […]. There is then, I say, a Master within that
teaches: Christ teaches; His inspiration teaches".
External instruction is therefore needed; we need teachers. But their
voices penetrate the heart only if the interior voice of the Spirit is
also present. "We are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy
Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him" (Acts 5:32). With
these words, addressed to the Sanhedrin, the Apostle Peter not only
affirms the necessity of the Holy Spirit's interior witness, but he
also indicates the condition for receiving it: readiness to obey, to
submit oneself to the Word.
It is the Spirit's anointing that makes us pass from propositions to
their reality. Believing which is also knowing is a theme dear to the
evangelist John: "We know and believe the love God has for us" (1 Jn.
4:16). "We have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy
One of God" (Jn. 6:69). "Knowing" in this case, as in general
throughout the whole of Scripture, does not mean what it means for us
today, i.e. having an idea or concept about something. It means
experiencing it, entering into relationship with the thing or with the
person. The Virgin's statement: "I do not know man", certainly didn't
mean "I don't know what a man is …"
What Pascal experienced on the night of the 23rdof November 1654 was a
clear case of the anointing of faith. He committed it to writing with
brief exclamatory phrases in a text found sewn inside his jacket after
"God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob! Not of the philosophers
and of the learned. Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace. God of
Jesus Christ.[…].He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel. […]
Joy, joy. Joy, tears of joy. […]. This is eternal life, that they know
you, the one true God, and he whom you have sent, Jesus Christ".
and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor,
11. You will not
dispute nor show your repugnance
and aversion, for meekness makes us bear everything without complaining.
this I pray: That your charity may more and more abound in knowledge
and in all understanding: That you may approve the better things: that
you may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ: Filled
with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and
praise of God.
POPE BENEDICT XVI:
"Our vocation is not simply to exist in the world, being inserted in
history, or even just being a creature of God, it is something greater:
it is being chosen by God, even before the creation of the world, in
the Son, Jesus Christ."
VATICAN RADIO: Angelus: Preparing the way for Emmanuel
MEDITATION by Peter Knott SJ
Each day in the middle of our routines, anxieties and disasters, the
liturgy brings its work of healing. ‘It binds up the wounded soul’,
gives us food for the journey of our lives and renews us in the truth
that only faith can see and sustain. It carries us when we need to be
carried and celebrates with us when we mark those moments of joy and
thanksgiving, weaving them all into the fabric of God’s own eternal
life, sanctifying our life in its everyday ordinariness.
In the rhythm of the liturgy the Spirit makes Christ present, so that
he may draw us more deeply into His life with the Father. Each day it
wakes us and summons us into His mystery, his active love at work for
the sustaining and healing of our world.
Every season of the liturgy asks us to discover or refresh a
disposition of heart and mind and action. Advent asks of us an
openness, an attentiveness, to what God is doing in us and in our
world. It orders our relationship to God in reverence, humility and
There is a sense of the immensity of God’s glory which shows itself in
a total outpouring of love: “Take, this is my body, this is my blood.”
Each day in this moment we see and experience the humility of God who
chooses to be present and give himself to us.
We also glimpse something of a God who is not afraid to make himself
one of us that he might gather our weakness into Himself. Most people
are conscious of a deep mystery in life. Advent helps us to attend to
this mystery at the heart of our lives and our faith. Like the Mass
itself, it is the school of humility – something the world thinks
Advent points us to a different way of thinking. The humility of God in
the Incarnation does not demean us but graces us. God gently exposes
our weakness: he slips into our world almost unseen: he clothes our
weakness with his own.
God does not force us to acknowledge Him but waits in the simplest
places for us to find our way to him. He does not compel Mary to do his
will, but invites her to a service which can only be her fulfillment –
and ours. All he asks of her, and of us, is to see how much we are
loved. His humility opens up before us the depth of that love and the
wonder – full power of his weakness. He asks only that we accept that
‘nothing is impossible for God.’
We are not the masters of creation but its guests and servants. It is
not our world but His; it is ours only by gift. Our minds can never
exhaust its wonders. Through the Incarnation God has made our world his
home. Advent gazes with joyful wonder into this mystery. It points to
Advent is the time between His first coming, his everyday coming, His
coming at the end of time. Advent is a time to leave behind all that
weighs us down, holding us back from giving ourself to God. It is our
time to begin again, a season in which our own freedom is renewed. It
is a time to put right whatever has gone wrong, to begin a new future
guided by the light of Christ rather than our passing moods.
We should be joyfully expectant of Christ’s everyday coming, as a
loving friend who knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us
beyond our power to imagine. We should expect him in small things as
well as big events. If our heart is right and our mind expectant we
will find Christ in many places – in the face of a child, in some need
of others, in our joys and in our sorrows. Advent unfolds for us
a time of promise. It shows us that patience is
part of God’s loving kindness. As we wait for Him so He waits for us,
even as He waits on us. This is the season of our be – coming, in which
the opening dialogue of the Mass is recognised as both prayer and
proclamation, fulfilled in his presence: “The grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with
you” .. .forever.
by St Theophan (1815-1894)
[I Tim. 6:17-21; Luke 18:31-34]
The Lord told the disciples about
His suffering, but they did not understand anything He was saying; This
saying was hid from them. Later, the faithful determined not to know
any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified (I Cor. 2:2). The time
had not come, they did not understand any of this mystery; but when the
time came — they understood, and taught everyone, and interpreted for
This happens with everyone, not
only with relation to this mystery, but to all the other mysteries as
well. What is not understood in the beginning, with time becomes
understood; it is as if a ray of light enters the consciousness and
brightens what was formerly dark. Who elucidates it? The Lord Himself,
the grace of the Spirit that lives in the faithful, one's guardian
angel — only in no way the person himself. He is a recipient, and not
the cause. On the other hand, another thing may remain incomprehensible
for one's whole life — not only for individuals, but for all of
Man is surrounded by things he does
not understand — some are explained to him in the course of his life,
while others are left until the next life, where it will be seen. This
applies even to minds enlightened by God. Why is it not revealed here?
Because some things are incomprehensible, so there is no point in
talking about them; others are not told out of considerations for
health — that is, it would be harmful to know prematurely. Much will
become clear in the other life, but other subjects and other mysteries
will be revealed. For a created mind there is never a surplus of
inscrutable mysteries. The mind rebels against these bonds: but whether
you rebel or not, you cannot sever the bonds of mystery. Become humble,
proud mind, beneath the strong hand of God — and believe!
and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor,
10. The virtue of
meekness will make you condescending
towards your neighbor whom you will excuse, bearing charitably and in
all the pain which may be caused you.
those days, and at that time, I will make the bud of justice to spring
forth unto David, and he shall do judgment and justice in the earth. In
those days shall Juda be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell securely: and
this is the name that they shall call him, The Lord our just one.
ST. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: “If you do not hope, you will not find
what is beyond your hopes.”
BLESSED JOHN HENRY CARDINAL NEWMAN: An Advent Meditation
POPE BENEDICT ANGELUS: The
world must be filled with the presence of Christ
Today the Church begins a new liturgical year, a path that is further
enriched by the Year of Faith, 50 years since the opening of the Second
The first Time of this journey is Advent, composed, in the Roman Rite,
of the four weeks that precede the Birth of the Lord, that is, the
mystery of the Incarnation. The word “Advent” means “coming” or
“presence.” In the ancient world, it signified the coming of the king
or the emperor into one of the provinces; in the language of
Christians, it referred to the coming of God, to His presence in the
world; a mystery that involves the whole of the cosmos and of history,
but that recognises two culminating moments: the first and the second
coming of Jesus Christ.
The first is the Incarnation itself; the second is the glorious return
at the end of time. These two moments, chronologically distant – and it
is not given to us to know how far apart they are – touch us deeply,
because by His death and resurrection Jesus has already accomplished
that transformation of humanity and of the cosmos that is the final
goal of creation. But before that end, it is necessary that the Gospel
be proclaimed to all nations, as Jesus says in the Gospel of Saint
Mark. The coming of Christ is continuous; the world must be infused by
His presence. This permanent coming of the Lord in the proclamation of
the Gospel requires our continual collaboration; and the Church, which
is like the Betrothed, the promised Bride of the crucified and risen
Lamb of God (cfr. Rev. 21,9), in communion with her Lord collaborates
in this coming of the Lord, in which His glorious return is already
It is to this that the Word of God recalls us today, tracing out a line
of conduct to pursue in order to be ready for the coming of the Lord.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to the disciples: “Beware that your
hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the
anxieties of daily life . . . Be vigilant at all times and pray.” So:
simplicity and prayer. And the apostle Paul adds the invitation to
“increase and abound in love” among ourselves and towards everyone, to
strengthen our hearts and to be blameless in holiness (cfr. 1 Thess 3,
In the midst of the turmoil of the world, or the desert of indifference
and materialism, Christians accept the salvation of God and witness to
it by a different way of life, as a city set on a hill. “In those
days,” the prophet Jeremiah proclaims, “Jerusalem shall dwell safely;
this is the name they shall call her: ‘The Lord our justice’” (Jer
33,16). The community of believers is a sign of the love of God, of His
justice that is already present and working in history, but not yet
fully realised, and that therefore should always be awaited, invoked,
and sought after with patience and courage.
The Virgin Mary perfectly embodies the spirit of Advent, which consists
of listening to God, a profound desire to do His will, and joyful
service to others. Let us be guided by her, so that God who is coming
may not find us closed or distracted, but might extend to each of us a
small part of His kingdom of love, of justice, and of peace.
Father, in the wilderness of the Jordan you sent a messenger to prepare
people's hearts for the coming of your Son. Help me to hear his words
and repent of my sins, so that I may clearly see the way to walk, the
truth to speak, and the life to live for Him, our Lord Jesus Christ.
and Sayings of Saint Margaret Mary: Love of One's Neighbor,
9. Plunge yourself
often into the charity of that
lovable Heart so that you may never act towards your neighbor in a
which may, in the least, wound that virtue, never doing to others what
you would not wish done to yourself.
Dr. Zambrano Home
2000: Bringing the World to Jesus
Tribulation Times Archives:
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