Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

The Month of December Dedicated to Advent and the Coming of Christ

Saint: Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bishop (270-343)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 54 Letters or Gifts for Monks

Mass: 40:1-11; Resp Ps 96; Mt 18:12-14

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
OUR LADY OF MONTILGEON,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

Though the grass withers and the flower wilts, the word of God stands forever.
(Is 40:8)

We keep our saint of the day busy. We have the privilege to commemorate Saint Nicholas of Myra as he is known in the East, for he was the bishop of Myra (now Demre, on the coast of modern-day Turkey), also known as Saint Nicholas of Bari in the West, because his relics were taken to Bari by the Italians during the Muslim conquest of Turkey in 1087. For a variety of reasons, Saint Nicholas has become the patron saint of pawnbrokers, children, and of sailors, He is invoked by the shipwrecked, by those in difficult economic circumstances, and for those affected by fires. One of the most endearing stories of Saint Nicholas speaks of his generosity. It is said they he "threw bags of gold through an open window in the house of a poor man to serve as dowry for the man's daughters, who otherwise would have been forced into prostitution. The gold is said to have landed in the family's shoes, which were drying near the fire. This is why children leave their shoes out by the door or hang their stockings by the fireplace in the hope of receiving a gift on the eve of his feast (see Catholic News Agency, "Saint Nicholas of Myra"). In any case, dear Saint Nick, as he is affectionately called - apparently the traditional red robes he wore as a bishop were the inspiration for the fur-trimmed red suit and black boots Santa Claus is known for today” (D. Bean in "Saint Nicholas and Mother Seton: The Gift of Generosity," Seton Shrine), is invoked today. San Nikolaus can intercede for those who have wandered from the fold. As Jesus tells us in today's Gospel, It is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost 9Mt 18:14). United in faith and prayer, we do our part too. Reach out to a lost one - invite him or her to pray with you, send a poem, a short note, or call. And the most important thing is to pray for one another, wandered from the fold or not. Jesus is searching for all of us.

I will look after my sheep, says the Lord, and I will appoint a shepherd to pasture them, and I, the Lord, will be their God.
(Entrance Antiphon, Mass for the Optional Memorial of Saint Nicholaus)

SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA,
SAINT MARY ELIZABETH HESSELBLAD,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: I read today's Responsorial Psalm yesterday morning then walked outside and took this. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice.

© Gertrude Feick 2022


Monday, December 5, 2022

Monday of the Second Week of Advent

The Month of December Dedicated to Advent and the Coming of Christ

Saints: Saint John Almond (c.1565-1612); Saint Birinus (7th century); Saint Hedda (-705); Saint Bartholomew Fanti (c.1428-1495 ); Blessed Philip Rinaldi (1856-1931) 

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 53:16-24 The Reception of Guests

Mass: Is: 35:1-10; Resp Ps 85; Lk 5:17-26

Kindness and truth shall meet.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
OUR LADY OF VIALANKANNI,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

They will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
(Is 35:2)

Welcome to Monday of the Second Week of Advent. Just like Ol' Man River, the Season of Advent keeps rollin' along. One might ask what Ol' Man River has to do with Advent. I just listened to Paul Robeson singing Ol' Man River; it just seems to fit. And with what has to be one of the most beautiful passages from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed at Mass today, how can we not, along with the people in today's Gospel, be seized with astonishment and glorify God, and struck with awe say, "We have seen [and heard] incredible things today"! (see Lk 5:26).

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf be unstopped;
Then will the lame leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.
(Is 35:5)

We close with inspiration from one of our saints of the day, Blessed Philip Rinaldi, a Salesian and Saint John Bosco's third successor. 

What must you do to have life? Before all else, the first thing you have to do is pray for courage every day to carry the cross the Lord has assigned to you. Then let each of you do your own work really well, the work proper to your state, as God wants it, and according to your condition.
(Blessed Philip Rinaldi)

SAINT JOHN ALMOND,
SAINT BIRINUS,
SAINT HEDDA,
SAINT BARTHOLOMEW FANTI,
BLESSED PHILIP RINALDI,
SAINT MARY ELIZABETH HESSELBLAD,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: Here it is, our Advent wreath lit for the Second Week of Advent. Glory dwelling in our land.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Second Sunday of Advent

The Month of December Dedicated to Advent and the Coming of Christ

In other years: Saint John Damascene, Priest, Doctor of the Church, "Last of the Church Fathers" (675/76-749)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 53:1-16 The Reception of Guests

Mass:  Is 11:1-10; Resp Ps 72; Rm 15:4-9; Mt 3:1-12

Profound peace, till the moon be no more.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
OUR LADY OF VAILANKANNI,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God
(Rm 15:7)

Welcome to the Second Sunday of Advent. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

John the Baptist makes his grand appearance this season and literally appears in the desert and preaches: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Mt 3:1-2). And how might our repentance be evident? It is by the good fruit that we produce (Mt 3:8). Very good fruit, then, is in how we welcome one another, as Saint Paul writes, welcome one another as Christ welcomed us (see Rm 15:7). And that is one reason why our holy father Saint Benedict begins his chapter on the reception of guests in this way: "All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for He Himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith and to pilgrims" (Rule of Saint Benedict, 53:1-2). United in faith and prayer, all that we do in word and deed is for the glory of God. For His dwelling shall be glorious (Is 11:10).

Lead me to pastures, Lord, and graze there with me. Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left, but let your good Spirit guide me along the straight path. Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with your will, now until the end.
(From The Statement of Faith by Saint John Damascene, priest, in Office of Readings, December 4)

SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST,
SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE,
SAINT MARY ELIZABETH HESSELBLAD,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: By custom, today's photo would be of our Advent wreath with two candles burning. This photo, from an early morning, February 21, 2021, fit so well with the Responsorial Psalm though. Our Advent wreath is coming soon. Justice shall flower in his days.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Saturday of the First Week of Advent

The Month of December Dedicated to Advent and the Coming of Christ

First Saturday of the Month

Saint: Saint Francis Xavier, Priest, "Apostle of Asia" (1506-1552)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 52 The Oratory of the Monastery

Mass: Is 30:19-21, 23-26; Resp Ps 147; Mt 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8

The Lord sustains the lowly.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
OUR LADY OF VAILANKANNI,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

This is the way; walk in it.
(Is 30:21)

Welcome to the First Saturday of the Month of December. Go to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Heart of Mary, united to the heart of Jesus, pray for us. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Jesus is busy in today's Gospel going around to all the towns and villages, teaching, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, curing every disease and illness. Our Lord saw that the people were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus seeks help from His disciples: The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest (Mt 9:37-38). So Jesus summoned His disciples to go out and get busy. It was not only the Twelve who responded to the Lord's summons, as there have been countless others who have gone to work. One of them is our saint of the day, Francis Xavier, friend of Ignatius of Loyola and Peter Faber. Together, they and other zealous men founded the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, a religious order confirmed by Pope Paul III in 1540. Francis Xavier spent time in Portugal, Malaysia, then Japan, caring for the sick, teaching the faith to adults and children alike, visiting prisoners, and more. Francis Xavier, like his Master Jesus, saw sheep that needed a shepherd. In a letter to Saint Ignatius, Francis wrote:

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: "What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!"
I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.
This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves entirely to God's will and His choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like-even to India!
(From the letters to Saint Ignatious by Saint Francis Xavier, priest, in Office of Readings, December 3)

Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.
(Mt 10:8)

SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER,
SAINT IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA,
SAINT PETER FABER,
PRAY FOR US.

Fun facts: Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Ignatius of Loyola were canonized on the same day in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. Saint Peter Faber was canonized in 2013 by Pope Francis.

Today's photo: “Humility is the prize of the leaf world” (Mary Oliver).

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Friday, December 2, 2022

Friday of the First Week of Advent

The Month of December Dedicated to Advent and the Coming of Christ

First Friday of the Month

Saint: Saint Bibiana, Virgin and Early Christian Martyr 

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 51 Brothers on a Short Journey

Mass: Is 29:17-24; Resp Ps 27; Mt 9:29-31

To dwell in the house of the Lord.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
OUR LADY OF VAILANKANNI,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL.

Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, 
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.
(Is 29:24)

I am sorry, dear faithful readers, for getting a little ahead of myself yesterday, mixed up once again.  Today is the First Friday of the Month so we just go straight to the Heart of Jesus once again. Heart of Jesus, source of all love and compassion, have mercy on us. Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus.

Since yesterday, though, I have been wondering if I really believe that Jesus can heal whatever blinds me, some things known to me, others not. The blind men in today's Gospel believed. As Jesus says, Let it be done for you according to your faith (Mt 9:29). I believe, Lord, help my unbelief. United in faith and prayer, may our eyes be opened. 

Lord, my God, teach my heart where and how to seek you, where and how to find you ...
Teach me to seek you, and when I seek you show yourself to me, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, nor can I find you unless you show yourself to me. Let me seek you in desiring you, find you in loving you and love you in finding you.
(From the Proslogion by Saint Anselm, bishop, in Office of Readings, First Week of Advent, Friday)

SAINT BIBIANA,
SAINT MARY ELIZABETH HESSELBLAD,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: This is the awesome Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona, the Grand Canyon State. My sister-in-law, dear TAF, was there some weeks ago and sent this photo. And gift for me was that she not only sent a couple photos, but dear Teresa Ann also lit a candle for me! As I sit here this morning I wonder if it still burns. All the days of my life. Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Thursday of the First Week of Advent

The Month of December Dedicated to Advent and the Coming of Christ

Saints: Saint Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916); Blessed Clementine Anuartie (1939-1964); Saint Alexander Briant (1556-1581); Saint Ralph Sherwin (1550-1581); Saint Edmund Campion (1540-1581)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 50 Brothers Working at a Distance or Traveling

Mass: Is 26:1-6; Resp Ps 118; Mt u7:21, 24-27

The gate is the Lord's. 

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
OUR LADY OF VAILANKANNI,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock.
(Is 26:4)

Welcome to December, the month dedicated to Advent and the Coming of Christ. Marana tha! Come, Lord, Jesus. And an added bonus is that it is the First Friday of the Month, a day devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection, have mercy on us.

Listen to the words of Jesus and act on them. United in faith and prayer, we build our houses on the Rock, Jesus Christ. Not my will, dear Father in heaven, but Yours be done (see today's Gospel).

Keep God's word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.
If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you.
(From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot, in Office of Readings, First Week of Advent, Wednesday)

SAINT CHARLES DE FOUCAULD,
BLESSED CLEMENTINE ANUARITE,
SAINT ALEXANDER BRAINT,
SAINT RALPH SHERWIN,
SAINT EDMUND CAMPION,
SAINT ELIZABETH MARY HESSELBLAD
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: The gate to our grove. The just shall enter it.

© Gertrude Feick 2022

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle

For the Poor Souls in Purgatory

Other Saints: Saint Cuthbert of Mayne (1543-1577)

Readings of the Day

Rule of Saint Benedict: Ch 49 The Observance of Lent

Mass:  Rm 10:9-18; Resp Ps 19; Mt 4:18-22

They are more precious than gold.

MARY, QUEEN OF PEACE,
OUR LADY OF VAILANKANNI,
OUR LADY OF MONTILGEON,
SAINT GERTRUDE THE GREAT OF HELFTA,
SAINT NICHOLAS OF TOLENTINO,
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL,
PRAY FOR US.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Rm 10:9)

Jesus is walking by. He sees you. Come after me, says the Lord. United in faith and prayer, we follow the lead of Andrew, his brother Simon who is called Peter, and the sons of Zebedee James and John, and follow Him. Immediately.

As soon as Andrew heard the Lord preaching, he left the nets which were his livelihood and way of life,
-and followed the Lord who gives eternal life.
(Office of Readings, Responsory, November 30)

SAINT ANDREW THE APOSTLE,
SAINT SIMON WHO IS CALLED PETER,
SAINTS JAMES AND JOHN THE SONS OF ZEBEDEE,
SAINT CUTHBERY MAYNE,
SAINT MARY ELIZABETH HESSELBLAD,
PRAY FOR US.

Today's photo: An attempt at leaf art. Than a heap of purest gold.

© Gertrude Feick 2022