27 January: St. Henry de Osso y Cervello

January 27
SAINT HENRY DE OSSO Y CERVELLO
Priest

Optional Memorial

Henry was born at Vinebre, Catalonia, Spain, on October 16, 1840, and was ordained a priest on September 21, 1867. He was an apostle to young people in teaching them about their faith and inspired various movements for the teaching of the Gospel. As a spiritual director he was fascinated by St. Teresa of Jesus, the great teacher in the ways of prayer and Daughter of the Church who is better known in the English-speaking world as St. Teresa of Avila. In the light of her teaching, he founded the Society of St. Teresa of Jesus (1876) dedicated to educating women in the school of the Gospel and following the example of St. Teresa. He gave himself to preaching and the apostolate through the printing press. He underwent many severe trials and sufferings. He died at Gilet, Valencia, Spain, on January 27, 1896.

He was canonized on July 16, 1993, in Madrid, by St. John Paul II.

From the Common of Pastors

Office of Readings

The Second Reading
(A Month in the Heart of Jesus, Prologue, EEO III, Rome, 1977, pp. 456-458)

From the writings of Saint Henry de Osso, Priest

Identification with Jesus Christ

This is our main endeavor: to think, to feel, to love as Christ Jesus, to act and to speak as He — in a word, to conform our whole life to Christ’s. No one can be saved unless they are formed in the image of Christ. To conform our life to Christ’s, we need, above all, to study His life, know it, and meditate upon it, not only in its outward appearance, but by immersing ourselves in the thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams of Jesus Christ so as to do everything in union with Him. In His goodness, Jesus Himself invites us, both in word and in action, to do this. For example, if we do not know the sentiments of His heart so as to put them into practice, how can we learn from His gentleness and humility? Or, how can we come into His presence each time we act in order to imitate Him? Christ lived, ate, slept, spoke, kept silent, walked, worked, sweat, got tired, rested, was hungry, thirsty and poor; in a word, He suffered and died for us and for our salvation.

Why is it, then, that we cannot make or imagine Jesus as real and down to earth, but only in theory and as the ideal, which is the reason we do not love and imitate Him in everything, as we must? Jesus is our brother, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, bone of our bones. This is who our Jesus is, true God and true Man, alive, personal, and intimate. He let Himself be seen; He lived and spoke with us. For our salvation, being the eternal Word of God, He descended from heaven, became flesh, suffered, died, rose, ascended into heaven, and remained among us until the end of time to be our companion, our consolation, and our food in the Blessed Sacrament.

Eternal life, then, our only happiness in time and eternity, consists in knowing Jesus more intimately. How happy will be the person who learns this lesson and lives it daily. What an inspiring thought! I will live, sleep, speak, listen, work, suffer — I will do everything, I will suffer everything in union with Jesus, with the same divine intention and sentiments that Jesus had and with which He suffered, which is what Jesus wants of me.

Whoever does this — and all of us are called to do it — will live in this life the life of the world to come and will be transformed into Jesus, able to say with St. Paul: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”

Responsory

R/. I rejoice in the trials I bear and make up in my flesh that which is lacking in the sufferings of Christ *
for the sake of His body which is the Church.
V/. I have been crucified with Christ, and now I no longer live but Christ lives in me: *
For the sake of His body which is the Church.

Prayer

Lord God,
in your priest Saint Henry de Osso
you wonderfully combined
the ideals of the apostolic community:
a life of continual prayer
and of untiring apostolic activity.
By his intercession may we persevere in the love of Christ
and serve your Church by word and deed.

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

 

OSSO_Enr12

Prayer for the beatification of Father Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament (Hermann Cohen)

Mary, Immaculate Virgin Mother,

who at the grotto at Lourdes restored to health Fr Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament that he might serve you faithfully in your Order of Carmel, obtain, we pray, from the Blessed Trinity the grace…

mention your request here

through the intercession and merits of your devoted servant “whose joy was to suffer for Jesus” and to whom it was granted, in answer to his heartfelt prayer, “to consecrate his life in its entirety to God’s will, service and glory”.

Mary, Mother of God, glorify, we beseech you, your servant who, through the redeeming power of Christ present in the Holy Eucharist, was brought to the knowledge of the Truth.

Make known, we pray, this apostle who was fired with devotion to the Sacrament of your Son’s love. May he bestow upon us, priests and laity alike, his burning zeal that the Divine Presence in the Eucharist might be adored, the Mass celebrated with reverence and sincerity, and Holy Communion received frequently and with devotion.

Grant that forthwith throughout the world and especially among your chosen people, Israel, there may be established the Eucharistic Kingship of the Son of David, the Living Bread, who came down from heaven in the womb of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

Amen.

With ecclesiastical approval

 

Report favors received to the Vice-Postulator

Postulation de la cause du Père Hermann
Monastère du Broussey
33410 RIONS
France

causeduperehermann@gmail.com

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 3

PRIMERA LECTURA

Lectura del Evangelio según San Marcos, 7, 31-37
Qué bien lo hace todo

En aquel tiempo, salió Jesús de la región de Tiro y vino de nuevo, por Sidón, al mar de Galilea, atravesando la región de Decápolis. Le llevaron entonces a un hombre sordo y tartamudo, y le suplicaban que le impusiera las manos. Él lo apartó a un lado de la gente, le metió los dedos en los oídos y le tocó la lengua con saliva. Después, mirando al cielo, suspiró y le dijo: “¡Effetá!” (que quiere decir “¡Abrete!”). Al momento se le abrieron los oídos, se le soltó la traba de la lengua y empezó a hablar sin dificultad.

Él les mandó que no lo dijeran a nadie; pero cuanto más se lo mandaba, ellos con más insistencia lo proclamaban; y todos estaban asombrados y decían: “¡Qué bien lo hace todo! Hace oír a los sordos y hablar a los mudos”.

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

Del Castillo Interior de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Moradas Segundas – Capítulo Único)
Su Majestad es muy buen vecino

Ahora vengamos a hablar cuáles serán las almas que entran a las segundas moradas y qué hacen en ellas. Querría deciros poco, porque lo he dicho en otras partes bien largo, y será imposible dejar de tornar a decir otra vez mucho de ello, porque cosa no se me acuerda de lo dicho; que si lo supiera guisar de diferentes maneras, bien sé que no os enfadaríais, como nunca nos cansamos de los libros que tratan de esto, con ser muchos.

Es de los que han ya comenzado a tener oración y entendido lo que les importa no se quedar en las primeras moradas, mas no tienen aún determinación para dejar muchas veces de estar en ella, porque no dejan las ocasiones, que es harto peligro…

Estos, en parte, tienen harto más trabajo que los primeros, aunque no tanto peligro, porque ya parece los entienden, y hay gran esperanza de que entrarán más adentro. Digo que tienen más trabajo, porque los primeros son como mudos que no oyen, y así pasan mejor su trabajo de no hablar, lo que no pasarían, sino muy mayor, los que oyesen y no pudiesen hablar. Mas no por eso se desea más lo de los que no oyen, que en fin es gran cosa entender lo que nos dicen. Así éstos entienden los llamamientos que les hace el Señor; porque, como van entrando más cerca de donde está Su Majestad, es muy buen vecino, y tanta su misericordia y bondad, que aun estándonos en nuestros pasatiempos y negocios y contentos y baraterías del mundo, y aun cayendo y levantando en pecados (porque estas bestias son tan ponzoñosas y peligrosa su compañía y bulliciosas que por maravilla dejarán de tropezar en ellas para caer), con todo esto, tiene en tanto este Señor nuestro que le queramos y procuremos su compañía, que una vez u otra no nos deja de llamar para que nos acerquemos a El; y es esta voz tan dulce que se deshace la pobre alma en no hacer luego lo que le manda; y así -como digo- es más trabajo que no lo oír.

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del XXIII Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario—Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel de Managua
9 de septiembre de 2018

Lecturas:
Is 35, 4-7a; Salmo 145, 7. 8-9a. 9bc-10; Sant 2, 1-5; Mc 7, 31-37

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 2

PRIMERA LECTURA

Lectura del primer libro de Samuel 15,22
Desobediencia de Saúl

¿Se complace el Señor tanto
en holocaustos y sacrificios
como en la obediencia a la voz del Señor?
He aquí, el obedecer es mejor que un sacrificio,
y el prestar atención, que la grosura de los carneros.

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

De Las Fundaciones de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Capítulo 5)
Entre los pucheros anda el Señor

Así lo estaba una persona que ha pocos días que hablé, que la obediencia le había traído cerca de quince años tan trabajado en oficios y gobiernos, que en todos éstos no se acordaba de haber tenido un día para sí, aunque él procuraba lo mejor que podía algunos ratos al día de oración y de traer limpia conciencia. Es un alma de las más inclinadas a obediencia que yo he visto, y así la pega a cuantas trata. Hale pagado bien el Señor, que, sin saber cómo, se halló con aquella libertad de espíritu tan preciada y deseada que tienen los perfectos, adonde se halla toda la felicidad que en esta vida se puede desear; porque, no queriendo nada, lo poseen todo. Ninguna cosa temen ni desean de la tierra, ni los trabajos las turban, ni los contentos las hacen movimiento. En fin, nadie la puede quitar la paz, porque ésta de sólo Dios depende. Y como a El nadie le puede quitar, sólo temor de perderle puede dar pena, que todo lo demás de este mundo es, en su opinión, como si no fuese, porque ni le hace ni le deshace para su contento. ¡Oh dichosa obediencia y distracción por ella, que tanto pudo alcanzar!

No es sola esta persona, que otras he conocido de la misma suerte, que no las había visto algunos años había y hartos; y preguntándoles en qué se habían pasado, era todo en ocupaciones de obediencia y caridad. Por otra parte, veíalos tan medrados en cosas espirituales, que me espantaban. Pues ¡ea, hijas mías!, no haya desconsuelo cuando la obediencia os trajere empleadas en cosas exteriores; entended que si es en la cocina, entre los pucheros anda el Señor ayudándoos en lo interior y exterior.

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del Segundo Domingo de Cuaresma—Parroquia Nuestra Señora de La Asuncion de Managua
17 de marzo de 2019

Lecturas:
Gen 15, 5-12. 17-18; Salmo 26, 1. 7-8a. 8b-9abc. 13-14; Fil 3, 17–4, 1; Lc 9, 28b-36

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 1

PRIMERA LECTURA

De la carta del apóstol san Pablo a los Filipenses 2,5-11
La actitud de los seguidores de Cristo

Tengan los mismos sentimientos de Cristo Jesús.

El, que era de condición divina,
no consideró esta igualdad con Dios
como algo que debía guardar celosamente:
al contrario, se anonadó a sí mismo,
tomando la condición de servidor
y haciéndose semejante a los hombres.
Y presentándose con aspecto humano,
se humilló hasta aceptar por obediencia la muerte
y muerte de cruz.

Por eso, Dios lo exaltó
y le dio el Nombre que está sobre todo nombre,
para que al nombre de Jesús,
se doble toda rodilla
en el cielo, en la tierra y en los abismos,
y toda lengua proclame para gloria de Dios Padre:
«Jesucristo es el Señor».

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

De Las Relaciones de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Capítulo 36)
El camino del sufrimiento y del amor

Esto me dijo el Señor otro día: «¿Piensas, hija, que está el merecer en gozar? No está sino en obrar y en padecer y en amar. No habrás oído que San Pablo estuviese gozando de los gozos celestiales más de una vez, y muchas que padeció, y ves mi vida toda llena de padecer y sólo en el monte Tabor habrás oído mi gozo. No pienses, cuando ves a mi Madre que me tiene en los brazos, que gozaba de aquellos contentos sin grave tormento. Desde que le dijo Simeón aquellas palabras, la dio mi Padre clara luz para que viese lo que Yo había de padecer. Los grandes santos que vivieron en los desiertos, como eran guiados por Dios, así hacían graves penitencias, y sin esto tenían grandes batallas con el demonio y consigo mismos; mucho tiempo se pasaban sin ninguna consolación espiritual. Cree, hija, que a quien mi Padre más ama, da mayores trabajos, y a éstos responde el amor. ¿En qué te le puedo más mostrar que querer para ti lo que quise para Mí? Mira estas llagas, que nunca llegaron aquí tus dolores. Este es el camino de la verdad. Así me ayudarás a llorar la perdición que traen los del mundo, entendiendo tú esto, que todos sus deseos y cuidados y pensamientos se emplean en cómo tener lo contrario».

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del Domingo de RamosParroquia de Esquipulas, Managua
14 de abril de 2019

Lecturas:
Is 50, 4-7; Salmo 21, 8-9. 17-18a. 19-20. 23-24; Flp 2, 6-11; Lc 22, 14–23, 56

 

9 January: St. Andrew Corsini

January 9
SAINT ANDREW CORSINI
Bishop

Optional Memorial
In the provinces in Italy: Memorial

Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on October 13th, 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence, and love of the poor. He died on January 6th, 1374.

From the Common of Pastors

Office of Readings

The First Reading

A reading from the Letter of St. James

James 2:1-9, 14-24

Faith without works is dead

My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats;’ then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my footrest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?

Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. In spite of this, you have no respect for anybody who is poor. Isn’t it always the rich who are against you? Isn’t it always their doing when you are dragged before the court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the honorable name to which you have been dedicated? Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of scripture: “you must love your neighbor as yourself;” but as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people, you are committing sin, and under condemnation for breaking the Law.

Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.

This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds’; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds — now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show. You believe in the one God — that is creditable enough, but the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear. Do realize, you senseless man, that faith without good deeds is useless. You surely know that Abraham our father was justified by his deed, because he ‘offered his son Isaac on the altar’? There you see it: faith and deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did. This is what scripture really means when it says: ‘Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified’; and that is why he was called ‘the friend of God.’

You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified.

Responsory

R/. Pure, unspoiled religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

V/. Quick to be generous, he gave to the poor; his righteousness remains forever. *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

The Second Reading

A reading from The Pastoral Rule of Pope St. Gregory the Great

Bk 1,10

Portrait of a good pastor

It is important that a man who is set up as a model of how to live should be one who is dead to all the passions of the flesh and lives by the spirit, turns his back on what the world has to offer, is unafraid of hardship, and is attracted only by the interior life. He does not let his body shirk its duty out of frailty; he does not become depressed when abused, for he realizes that things of this kind further his true ends. He does not readily covet what is not his, but with what he does possess he is generous. His loving nature is quick to forgive, though he never allows himself to be misled into condoning more than he should. While he does no wrong himself, he grieves over the misdeeds of others as if they were his own. His compassion for others when they are sick is heartfelt, and he is just as glad when good befalls his neighbor as when his own interests are advanced. His behavior is so exemplary in all respects that he need never fear being made to blush, even for past faults. He so conducts his life that those whose hearts are in need of refreshment can always find it in the guidance he gives. He is so well versed in the art of prayer that he can obtain anything he asks for from the Lord; it is as though he were singled out by a prophetic voice saying to him: “While you are still speaking I will say, ‘See, I am here.’”

If someone happened to come and ask one of us to intercede for him with an influential man we did not know and who was annoyed with him, we should at once say: ‘I cannot come and intercede — I do not know what he is like.’ So if a person is afraid to intercede with a mere man about whom he knows nothing, how can one, who is not sure whether or not his conduct makes him worthy to be counted God’s friend, take it upon himself to be the people’s advocate before God? How can he ask pardon for others if he is not sure that his own sins have been forgiven?

Responsory

R/. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

V/. Tend the flock that is placed under your care, willingly as God would have you do, being examples to your flock.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

Prayer

God our Father,
You reveal that those who work for peace
will be called Your children.
Through the prayers of St. Andrew Corsini,
who excelled as a peacemaker,
help us to work without ceasing
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God, says the Lord.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. The kingdom of God consists of justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way pleases God and wins the esteem of all.

 

andrew corsini_guido_reni,_s._andrea_corsini,_1639_pinacoteca_bologna
Il Beato Andrea Corsini
Guido Reni (Italian, 1575-1642)
Oil on canvas, 1635-1640
Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna

 

8 January: St. Peter Thomas

January 8
SAINT PETER THOMAS
Bishop

Optional Memorial

 

Born about 1305 in southern Perigord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelites when he was twenty-one.  He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches.  He was translated to the see of Corone in the Peloponnesus in 1359 and made Papal Legate for the East. In 1363, he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died at Famagosta on Cyprus in 1366.

From the Common of Pastors 

Office of Readings

The First Reading

A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy

1 Timothy 1:1-7, 15-19, 2:1-8

The calling of a pastor

From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I asked you when I was leaving for Macedonia, please stay at Ephesus, to insist that certain people stop teaching strange doctrines and taking notice of myths and endless genealogies; these things are only likely to raise irrelevant doubts instead of furthering the design of God which are revealed in faith. The only purpose of this instruction is that there should be love, coming out of a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith. There are some people who have gone off the straight course and taken a road that leads to empty speculation; they claim to be doctors of the Law, but they understand neither the arguments they are using nor the opinions they are upholding.

Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life. To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Timothy, my son, these are the instructions that I am giving you: I ask you to remember the words once spoken over you by the prophets, and taking them to heart to fight like a good soldier with faith and a good conscience for your weapons. Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence.

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone — petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving — and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our Savior: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and — I am telling the truth and no lie — a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.

Responsory

R/. Bear with one another in love; do all that you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together; there is one body and one Spirit, *
just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called.
V/.  A servant of the Lord is to aim for holiness and faith, love, and peace, in union with all those who call on the Lord with pure minds; *
just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called.

The Second Reading

A reading from The Book of the Institution of the First Monks

Bk I, Ch 6 

Love your neighbor as yourself

The Lord says, “The man who hears My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.”  And the first of all commandments is: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. This is the greatest and first commandment.”  This cannot be observed without love of neighbor, because “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen;” “and the second commandment is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” namely, in the things and for the reason that you love yourself.  “His soul hates him who loves violence,” says the Psalmist. Therefore, love your neighbor as yourself in good and not in evil, and “whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” and “what you hate, do not do to anyone.” Thus, you must love your neighbor, and so act that he becomes just if he is wicked, or remains just if he is good.

Again you must love yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God. Whatever is loved because of itself is thus made a source of joy and a happy life, the hope of attaining which is comforting even on earth.  But you must not place the hope of a blessed life in yourself or another man. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Therefore, you must make the Lord the source of your joy and the happy life, as the apostle says: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you understand this clearly, you must love God because of Himself, and yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God; and, since you must love your neighbor as yourself, you must love him, not because of himself, nor because of yourself, but because of God, and what else is this but to love God in your neighbor?  “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandment.” In the preparation of your soul you do all of this if you love God because of Himself and your neighbor as yourself because of God. “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

Responsory

R/. With all our hearts we desired nothing better than to share with you our own lives, as well as God’s gospel, *
so greatly had we learned to love you.
V/.  My little children, I am in travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ’s image formed in you, *
so greatly had we learned to love you.

Prayer

Lord,
You inspired in Your bishop St. Peter Thomas
an intense desire to promote peace and Christian unity.
Following His example
may we live steadfast in the faith
and work perseveringly for peace.

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

Canticle of Zechariah

I am the good shepherd; I lay down my life for my sheep; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

Canticle of Mary

May the peace of Christ fill your hearts with joy, that peace to which all of you are called as one body.

 

Peter Thomas Museum of Fine Arts Boston SC188989
Saint Peter Thomas
Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598–1664)
Oil on canvas, after 1634
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

4 January: St. Kuriakos Elias Chavara

January 4
SAINT KURIAKOS ELIAS CHAVARA
Priest

Optional Memorial
In the provinces of India, Memorial

 

Saint Kuriakos Elias Chavara, co-founder and first prior general of the congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, was born at Kainakary in Kerala, India, February 10, 1805. He entered the seminary in 1818, and was ordained priest in 1829. He made his religious profession in 1855, in the congregation he founded. In 1861, he was named vicar general for the Syro-Malabar church; in this capacity he defended ecclesial unity threatened by schism when mar Tomas Rochos was sent from Mesopotamia to consecrate Nestorian bishops. Throughout his life he worked for the renovation of the church in Malabar. He was also co-founder in 1866 of the congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Above all, he was a man of prayer, zealous for the Eucharistic Lord, and devoted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He died at Koonammavu in 1871. His body was transferred to Mannanam in 1889.

From the Common of Pastors or of Holy Men (Religious)

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

From a note written on the day of his death, by his spiritual director Fr. Leopold Beccaro

Day and night he fought to arrest the spread of schism

Today, Tuesday, January 3, 1871, at 7:15 in the morning, Fr. Cyriac (Kuriakos) Elias of the Holy Family, the first Prior, died after a life of great innocence. He could declare before his death he had never lost his baptismal innocence. He was exercising himself in the practice of virtues, especially in simplicity of heart, living faith, tender obedience, and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to St. Joseph. He has undergone immense hardships for the good of the Christians of Malabar, especially during the time of the schism of Rochos, when he, having been appointed vicar general of the Syrians, showed his extraordinary devotion to the Holy See. He fought day and night to arrest the spread of schism from which he would save no less than forty parishes. On this account the Holy Father Pope Pius IX sent him a letter expressing his great satisfaction. He was the founder and the first Prior of the Carmelites of Malabar. He founded also the convent of nuns after undergoing many hardships. On account of his endearing virtues, learning and profound knowledge of the Syriac language he enjoyed great influence on the Syrians of Malabar. He was always greatly loved by the Vicars Apostolic of Malabar, and even more by the people of Malabar, the gentiles and Nestorians not excluded. He endured his last illness for two years in a spirit of great resignation, nay with joy. He was detached from all disorderly affections for earthly things, which was all the more true in the last days of his life. Having received the last sacraments with extraordinary piety and devotion, in a heavenly joy, and amidst the tears of all who knew him, especially my own, who knew him even as myself, he breathed his last at the age of sixty-five and was buried in the church of St. Philomena at Koonammavu. O holy and beautiful soul, pray for me.

Responsory

R/. You adorned my soul with all graces *
so that the angels too may find joy in that.
V/. You took care, besides, that my name might be inscribed in the book of life *
so that the angels too may find joy in that.

Prayer

Lord God,
You raised up Saint Kuriakos Elias your priest
to strengthen the unity of the Church.
Grant that through his intercession
we may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit
to read the signs of the times with wisdom
and spread the news of the Gospel
by both word and example.

We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

 

 

Kuriakose Elias Chavara 011 T
Credit: rejijoseph.com (used by permission)

Mary, Mother of God: Her face speaks peace — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

The Solemnity of the
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
1 January 2020


Gospel
Numbers 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

On the first day of the new year, we have the joy and grace of celebrating the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and at the same time the World Day of Peace. Gathered as a Church to celebrate the Eucharist around Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary and our true peace, we welcome with emotion the words of the ancient blessing that the priests imparted on the people of Israel: The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! (cf. Nm 6:26).

We have heard, both in the first reading—taken from the Book of Numbers—and in the responsorial Psalm, some expressions that contain the metaphor of the face in reference to God: “The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!” (Nm 6:25); “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations” (Ps 67:1-2, NRSVCE). The face is the expression par excellence of the person, which makes him recognizable; through it, the feelings, thoughts, and intentions of the heart are shown. God, by his nature, is invisible; however, the Bible also applies this image to him. Showing his face is an expression of his benevolence while hiding it indicates his anger and indignation. The Psalms present believers as those who seek the face of God (cf. Ps 27:9; 102:2, NRSVCE) and who aspire to see it in worship: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Ps 42:2, NRSVCE).

We begin this year with the deep conviction of our faith that the Lord wants to show us his face and that this is a reason for trust and hope. We trust that this year the Lord will look upon us as we journey and that he’ll gaze upon us with infinite kindness. We know that he’ll never turn his face away from us because he is the faithful one and he loves us dearly. We do not know what will happen in this new year, but we’re sure that the Lord will continue to show us his gentle, loving, welcoming face, assuring us that he is with us. The face of the Lord who is looking upon us will overcome our loneliness.

Biblical history as a whole can be read as a progressive revelation of the face of God, until it reaches its full manifestation in Jesus Christ. “When the fullness of time had come,” the Apostle Paul reminded us today, “God sent his Son” (Gal 4:4). And immediately he adds, “born of a woman, born under the law.” The face of God took on a human face, allowing Himself to be seen and recognized in the son of the Virgin Mary, whom we, therefore, venerate as “Mother of God.” She, who kept in her heart the secret of divine motherhood, was the first to see the face of God made man in the tiny fruit of her womb. The mother has a very special, unique and in some ways exclusive relationship with her newborn child. The first face the child sees is that of the mother, and this look is decisive for his relationship with life, with himself, with others, and with God.

Through her face, Mary “gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son (…) and sensing “the maternal tenderness of God”. At the same time, in contemplating the face of Mary, “the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise” (Pope Francis, Homily 1 January 2017). Seeing his mother’s face, Jesus recognized himself to be a son and a brother, as the Son of God and as the brother of all people. The mother’s serene gaze communicates security and peace, giving an awareness of being a person and strengthening the ability to relate to others and to God with maturity and generosity. Today too, the face of the Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, makes us feel like children of God and brothers and sisters to one another.

The face of Our Lady, whose heart was always full of God’s loving presence, allows us to feel that God is close to us and loves us, it instills in us the certainty that God never leaves our side, and that he cares for us and always forgives us. Our Lady’s face also helps us to look at each other as sisters and brothers. It teaches us to see as she does, and it enables us to have a caring vision that seeks to welcome, to accompany, and to protect. Let’s learn to look at each other under the maternal gaze of Mary. May she help us this year to show a kind and welcoming face to all. Let’s not be afraid to go out and look at our brothers and sisters with Our Lady’s eyes, to let her face be seen in our faces. Her face speaks peace to us and makes us capable of being peacemakers.

Peace has much to do with the face, with our own face and the faces of others. Peace begins with a respectful look that recognizes a real person in the face of the other individual, whatever the color of their skin, their nationality, their language, and their religion may be. In this New Year, may people who see our face have no fear, neither let them feel ignored or rejected, because “mistrust and fear weaken relationships and increase the risk of violence, creating a vicious circle that can never lead to a relationship of peace” (Pope Francis, World Day of Peace 2020).

Peace is destroyed when we live in faceless, anonymous societies where the law that seems to dominate our coexistence is “every man for himself,” all of us being submerged in the sea of selfishness and indifference. We contribute to peace when we fill our lives and our hearts with faces—with faces that have names and stories, with faces that make our hearts beat with charity and solidarity, that move us with tenderness and goodness.

In many of our countries, injustice and violent repression continue to sow terror and death because we have not learned to recognize human beings who deserve dignity and respect in the faces of others, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Peace will be possible for our people only through “a patient effort to seek truth and justice, to honor the memory of victims and to open the way, step by step, to a shared hope stronger than the desire for vengeance” (World Day of Peace 2020).

The ancient priestly blessing of Israel concludes with these words: “The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace” (Nm 6:26). The human face of God who imparts his peace to us is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. Therefore, at the beginning of this New Year, to prepare ourselves to receive God’s blessing in Christ and to be peacemakers, let us run back to the manger like the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:15-26) and confidently turn our faces to the face of the Mother who carries God in her arms. May she, whose face reflects God’s maternal tenderness, preserve our hearts in peace and help the whole of humanity to walk in the pathways of peace.

 

Theotokos BAEZ fave
Credit: Desde dentro…

 

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, the bishop currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

 

Quote of the day: 30 December

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.

Matthew 2:13-14


The gospel text that we heard reminds us that Jesus’ family was a family like many of our families today, forced to move to foreign lands to save their lives and survive. As soon as Jesus is born, he suffers opposition from the mighty of this world, as will be the case throughout his life. The servant Messiah, devoid of power, always will be spied upon, persecuted, and harassed by the leaders of religion and politics who are governed by selfishness, ambition, and violence. The powerful are afraid of God’s people and respond to the gifts of God with intimidation and terror.

King Herod, who ruled in Judea, fearing the “king of the Jews” (Mt 2:2), who according to the testimony of the Magi was just born in Bethlehem, decided to take drastic measures to eliminate the child. Those who exercise power like despots in an authoritarian manner always live in fear of losing their power. Ambitious and thirsty for power, Herod is afraid and orders the murder of all the children under the age of two in Bethlehem (Mt 2:16). Like the ancient Pharaoh of Egypt, like the tyrants of today who dominate by repression and the shedding of innocent blood, Herod chooses to kill rather than lose his power and privileges. History repeats itself.

An angel, a messenger of the Lord, appeared in a dream to Joseph and commanded him: “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph promptly obeys, takes Mary and the newborn with him, and goes to Egypt where they experience the dramatic conditions of refugees, characterized by fear, poverty, uncertainty, and discomfort (cf. Mt 2:13-15, 19-23).

Jesus wanted to belong to a family that experienced these difficulties so that no one would feel excluded from God’s loving presence. The flight into Egypt caused by Herod’s threats shows us that God is there wherever people are in danger, wherever they suffer, wherever they are forced to flee, and wherever they experience rejection and abandonment. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph experienced what it means to leave your own land and become immigrants, to have to flee and take refuge in a foreign country. In the midst of such a painful drama, Mary’s maternal heart and Joseph’s attentive heart always held onto the trust that God never would abandon them.

Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family

 

Rest on the flight into Egypt MERSON Luc Olivier MFA Boston SC370988
Rest on the Flight into Egypt
Luc Olivier Merson (French, 1846–1920)
Oil on canvas, 1879
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Gallery Label
Fleeing persecution at the hands of Roman authorities, the Holy Family takes refuge in Egypt. Joseph dozes beside a dying campfire while his donkey grazes on sparse desert grass. At left sleep the Virgin Mary and infant Christ, crowned with a halo of light. They lie in the arms of a sphinx, its eyes turned to the heavens, where the first stars begin to appear. A successful Academic artist, Merson never traveled to North Africa, but his use of archeological detail creates the illusion of an eyewitness account, breathing new life into a time-honored subject.

 

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

The Holy Family: The fiber of humanity — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

The Holy Family of
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
29 December 2019


Gospel
Mt 2:13-15, 19-23

When the magi had departed, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt,
and stay there until I tell you.

Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod,
that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,
Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod had died, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream
to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel,
for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
He rose, took the child and his mother,
and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea
in place of his father Herod,
he was afraid to go back there.
And because he had been warned in a dream,
he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth,
so that what had been spoken through the prophets
might be fulfilled,
He shall be called a Nazorean.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, which reminds us of a particular dimension of the mystery of God’s becoming human in Jesus Christ: the Lord wanted to live in the very heart of a family. He entered the world as a child, born of the Virgin Mary and, through Joseph he received a legal father, was lovingly welcomed and protected by his parents, and was educated by them in the best human and religious values of his people. Ever since then the family, every family, has a certain sacredness. The Son of God sanctifies and gladdens every family with his presence and enables families to experience tenderness, reconciliation, and hope by sustaining them with his tender and merciful love.

The gospel text that we heard reminds us that Jesus’ family was a family like many of our families today, forced to move to foreign lands to save their lives and survive. As soon as Jesus is born, he suffers opposition from the mighty of this world, as will be the case throughout his life. The servant Messiah, devoid of power, always will be spied upon, persecuted, and harassed by the leaders of religion and politics who are governed by selfishness, ambition, and violence. The powerful are afraid of God’s people and respond to the gifts of God with intimidation and terror.

King Herod, who ruled in Judea, fearing the “king of the Jews” (Mt 2:2), who according to the testimony of the Magi was just born in Bethlehem, decided to take drastic measures to eliminate the child. Those who wield power like despots in an authoritarian manner always live in fear of losing their power. Ambitious and thirsty for power, Herod is afraid and orders the murder of all the children under the age of two in Bethlehem (Mt 2:16). Like the ancient Pharaoh of Egypt, like the tyrants of today who dominate by repression and the shedding of innocent blood, Herod chooses to kill rather than lose his power and privileges. History repeats itself.

Because he’s just a little child, Jesus is not able to take care of himself and protect himself from danger and it’s only thanks to Joseph and Mary’s care that his life is saved. Salvation history, woven by God with the fiber of humanity, passes through the daily events of families who are called to protect life by keeping love alive and seeking relationships of closeness and affection.

An angel, a messenger of the Lord, appeared in a dream to Joseph and commanded him: “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph promptly obeys, takes Mary and the newborn with him, and goes to Egypt where they experience the dramatic conditions of refugees, characterized by fear, poverty, uncertainty, and discomfort (cf. Mt 2:13-15, 19-23).

Unfortunately, thousands of families in our Latin American countries can see themselves in this sad reality. I’m thinking especially of Cuba, Venezuela and, more recently, my beloved people in Nicaragua. How many people in our countries, children, women and the elderly included, have to leave their homeland because of hunger or violence in search of an existence with greater dignity or simply to save their lives! I’m thinking today especially of the approximately 80,000 Nicaraguans who’ve had to flee our country, persecuted by a dictatorial government and its dark forces of death, in search of safety, trying to survive at all costs by exposing themselves to all kinds of risks and dangers!

Jesus wanted to belong to a family that experienced these difficulties so that no one would feel excluded from God’s loving presence. The flight into Egypt caused by Herod’s threats shows us that God is there wherever people are in danger, wherever they suffer, wherever they are forced to flee, and wherever they experience rejection and abandonment. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph experienced what it means to leave your own land and become immigrants, to have to flee and take refuge in a foreign country. In the midst of such a painful drama, Mary’s maternal heart and Joseph’s attentive heart always held onto the trust that God never would abandon them. Through their intercession, may this same conviction be rooted in your hearts, dear brothers and sisters, most of you who are immigrants and refugees who have left our countries. Don’t sink into sadness or let yourselves be overcome by despair in the face of difficulties; put your trust in the God who is the protector of the weak and vulnerable and who will never abandon you; live out your exile in communion with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, who will accompany you with their love and help you to envision ever-new horizons.

After some time following Herod’s death, an angel reveals to Joseph—once again in a dream—that he can return to Israel. The situation is as yet uncertain because Archelaus, Herod’s son, reigns over Judea. This is why Jesus and his parents are going to Galilee. Joseph, the great dreamer of the dreams of God, also dreams in Egypt, in a foreign land, and Mary and Jesus share those dreams with him. Exile is a time to welcome the dreams that are born from trust in God. God is also there where men and women dream, where they hope to return to their homes in freedom, and where they plan and make choices in favor of life and dignity for themselves and their families.

Exile, even when forced by socio-political circumstances, can become a time of salvation, an authentic experience of God in darkness and pain. The great majority of you, who are either immigrants or refugees because of egotism, corruption, and violence, have a special place in the heart of God. He comforts, protects and invites you not to reproduce the same dehumanizing patterns of behavior of those who forced you out of your own country. Those who live outside their land are called to behave honestly in public life in the country that welcomes them, to respect its laws and to conduct themselves with integrity in all aspects of life. But that isn’t all. Immigrants and refugees must cultivate selfless friendships and fraternal charity towards one another, you must help each other in times of difficulty and, as far as possible, create networks of humanitarian aid and support among yourselves.

The family of Nazareth, which knew exile with all its difficulties and was protected by God, returned to its land and invites all exiles and refugees to feel loved and protected by God. Don’t lose hope that a safer future is reserved for you, too. Let us ask Jesus, Joseph, and Mary that you always may find an outstretched hand to help you and that you may experience fellowship, solidarity, and the warmth of friendship. Don’t stop dreaming. Don’t forget your country, because as our great Rubén Dario said, “if the homeland is small, a great one can dream of it.” To my Nicaraguan compatriots outside the homeland, I remind you that Nicaragua is made for freedom, not for living like hostages. From now on, let us dream and strive to build a more dignified country for everyone, one that is free, just, peaceful and democratic. God is with us.

 

 

"Holy Family" by Simon Vouet (French, 1590-1649) is licensed under CC0 1.0
Holy Family
Simon Vouet (French, 1590-1649)
Etching, 1633
Cleveland Museum of Art (Licensed under CC0 1.0)

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, the bishop currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

 

Jesus: God’s love story — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

The Nativity of the Lord
Mass During the Day
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
25 December 2019


Gospel
John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

On this Christmas Day, the gospel that we heard is the prologue of the Gospel of John, which is a solemn poem, an authentic canticle dedicated to the Word of God, a hymn that from the earliest centuries helped Christians to delve into the mystery enclosed in Jesus of Nazareth.  If on this Christmas day we all listen to this gospel with simple faith and openness to God, it also can help us to believe in Jesus in a deeper way. Given the great richness of the Gospel text, we will try to dwell only on some of its central affirmations.

In the beginning was the Word

“In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was with God” (Jn 1:1). The prologue of John’s gospel starts with these words. It speaks of the beginning. Not the beginning of human history, but rather of the absolute principle from which everything has sprung. It affirms that from eternity “the Word” already existed. At the beginning of it all, there is no chaos, no absolute disorder; at the beginning of it all, there is no absurdity, darkness or nothingness. No. A word and a reason exist.  There is a divine “why” that brings everything into being and justifies everything that exists, a desire and a plan of God’s love that creates and guides everything. It’s a kind of divine wisdom (cf. Prov 8) that has created the universe and wisely maintains and cares for everything with tenderness and love.

Only if we trust that there has always been an eternal word from God that lovingly guides and directs everything for our good, can we ever overcome despair, moments of anguish, the unmanageability of our very lives, social and personal uncertainties, and the darkness in which everything seems to lose meaning.  Beyond all this, there is a logic, an eternal word, a divine reason, which is love. We can live with serenity and trust because God’s love, which is his eternal Word, which has always existed, enfolds, guides and protects us.

The Word of God became flesh

Today’s gospel has reminded us that God is not mute. From all eternity God has a word that he has wanted to speak, to communicate. He hasn’t remained silent, enclosed within himself. Throughout the course of history, that eternal word has been communicated to us: through creation, through revelation to the people of Israel, and through the cultures of all the peoples. God has always wanted to speak to us: to tell us how much he loves us, to reveal and explain his Word to us and his loving plan for us.

Today, we heard in the Gospel that this Word “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). The eternal Word became human, took on substance and entered history as a human being. Jesus of Nazareth is that Word that God has always wanted to speak to us. Jesus, the Word made flesh, incarnates God’s eternal plan; he embodies God’s infinite and gracious love for humanity and for each one of us.

God has not conveyed Himself to us through sublime concepts and doctrines. His Word has been incarnated in the intimate and simple life of Jesus so that even the most ordinary people can understand it. The eternal Word has been incarnated silently in the manger, like a child in need, so that we can welcome it and embrace it with love. In those days, the Word shone in Jesus’ humanity and was revealed in his works and words: when he healed the sick; when he offered God’s mercy and forgiveness to sinners; when he dedicated himself to acts of kindness by embracing the children on the streets, because he didn’t want anyone to feel like an orphan; when he blessed the sick, because he didn’t want them to feel forgotten by God; when he caressed the skin of lepers, because he didn’t want them to be excluded; and, when he died on the cross to teach us that no one has greater love than the one who gives his life for those whom he loves. The entire life of Jesus is the greatest book alive in which we can read the Word of God.

He made his dwelling among us

This Word of God “made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14). The distances have vanished. God became “flesh”; he became human like us out of love. Since his birth in Bethlehem, he has lived among us. He has fallen so intensely in love with humanity that he hasn’t departed from our midst. That is why to meet God we don’t have to go outside the world, but rather we need to approach Jesus and let ourselves be touched and invaded by the love of God that has been revealed in him. It’s up to us to allow ourselves to be surprised and embraced by this love on a daily basis.

It’s a pity that God has come down to the depths of our existence, yet life still seems empty to us; it’s a shame that God has come to dwell in the human heart, yet at times we feel an unbearable inner emptiness; and, it is a tragedy that God has come to reign among us, but seems to be totally absent from our interpersonal and social relationships.

When we don’t understand the sacred value of that which is material and human since God became man, we become indifferent to the hunger of the poor, or indifferent to the disrespect for human rights, the violence of war, or the destruction of the planet. When we don’t understand that God has taken on that which is material, we make the beauty of sex into an experience of slavery and deceptive pleasure. Because we don’t take seriously the fact that God took on all that is human, we don’t know how to accept our human limitations with humility, nor do we live with joy and patience the necessary journey of maturity and aging. Only when we lovingly take on our human condition do we fully accept God and allow Him to transform us with His infinite love.

No one has ever seen God

The text of today’s gospel ends with this statement: “No one has ever seen God: it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known”. Jesus has been like the great narrative of God’s love. He did not make Him known through theory but through a story of goodness and forgiveness, which culminates in the cross and resurrection. The story of Jesus is the story of God among us. Only Jesus has “told” us what God is like.

Everything changes when we grasp that Jesus is the human face of God. Everything becomes clearer, simpler, and more attractive. By contemplating Jesus we know how God looks upon us when we suffer, how he looks for us when we are lost, and that he understands us and forgives us when we deny him. In Jesus, the “grace of the truth” of God has been revealed to us. We still won’t see God. You can’t see him. But Jesus helps us to overcome this impossibility of seeing God. The only way to see God is to listen to Jesus, to follow Jesus, and to live in communion with Jesus. He himself will say later: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”. May we welcome Jesus, may we be transformed by his love, and may we become not only holier but more human.

 

In the beginning Shkolnik ICON FrTed Flickr S5504096566_f9119d89ea_o (straighten-fx)
Creation of the Cosmos (detail)
Written by Dmitry Shkolnik
St. Paul Orthodox Church
Dayton, Ohio

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, he currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

O Emmanuel

Tú me apareces, Virgen, en lo alto del Calvario,
de pie junto a la Cruz, cual preste ante el altar,
ofreciendo a Jesús, tu Hijo, el Emmanuel,
a fin de la justicia de su Padre aplacar…
Un profeta dijo, ¡oh, Madre desolada ! :
« ¡No hay dolor que se pueda al tuyo comparar ! »
¡Oh, Reina de los mártires !, ¡desterrada prodigas
por nosotros tu sangre, corazón maternal !

Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús

Por qué te amo, María
Pn 54, Estrofa 23

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux43_7jun97 TWsize
1897 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross
To me you seem like a priest at the altar,
Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel,
To appease the Father’s justice…
A prophet said, O afflicted Mother,
“There is no sorrow like your sorrow!”
O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile
You lavish on us all the blood of your heart!

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Why I Love You, O Mary!
Pn 54, Stanza 23

St. Joseph: Silence, Humanity and Love — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
22 December 2019


Gospel
Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, on the eve of the Christmas celebration, the liturgy of the word is centered on the person and experience of Saint Joseph, a young worker from Nazareth engaged to Mary, whom he loved and who he was going to marry. Before living together, Joseph discovers that she is expecting a child whose paternal origin is not entirely clear to him. The Gospel says that Joseph was “just”, that is, he faithfully fulfilled the law of the Lord; and not wishing to disown her in public, he decided to do so in private, sending her away quietly (cf. Mt 1:19). Was he surprised to see that Mary was pregnant since they had not had relations? Is it possible that his fiancée didn’t involve him in the event by sharing with him what she had understood from God about this birth?

Something unexpected and unpleasant is interjected in the marriage plans of the two young people. That pregnancy could only be the fruit of betrayal and, from the point of view of the cultural and religious customs of the time, Mary was considered an adulteress and according to the Law of Moses, she was to be stoned to death for her infidelity. Adultery was a break with the patriarchal order that dominated society; since the woman was deemed as belonging to the husband, so the aggrieved husband could denounce her and have her killed for her sin.

Joseph was just, that is, a faithful observer of the Lord’s law, but not in the style of the Pharisees, attached to the letter of the law. Joseph fulfills the law of the Lord by acting with profound humanity. With Joseph, justice means humanity, as the Book of Wisdom says: “the righteous must be kind” (Wis 12:19). He breaks with the logic of domination and possession. The other person is not first and foremost a sinner, a personified error, or a traitor, but a human being who has received life as a gift and commitment; a person who has the right to make changes and to live. Joseph proves to be truly just.

Joseph is not ashamed, he doesn’t belittle Mary and he doesn’t act in such a way as to expose her to shame and death. He doesn’t react in an impulsive and disciplinary fashion, but he looks for a solution that respects the dignity and integrity of his beloved Mary. Joseph’s justice is manifested in the fact that he was “unwilling to expose her to shame”, in not acting as if he owned her by deciding that she had to suffer and die. Nor does he care about his image as a man whose honor has been tarnished and whose rights have been violated by his future wife. Joseph acts with humanity and love.

Joseph’s actions were a huge, painful inner struggle for him. How many questions, how many doubts, how much uncertainty assail Joseph! It’s at this moment that God intervenes by revealing to Joseph in a dream the mystery of the conception of Mary’s son: it is the work of the creative power of God’s Spirit (v. 20-21). That dream obviously not only tried to resolve the conflict that had arisen between two spouses, but its ultimate aim was above all to reveal the identity of the child that was growing in Mary’s womb. Her child is the result of the power of the Holy Spirit; he is a creature that only God could give us. Joseph, accepting divine revelation about the divine origin of Jesus and accepting his role as the legal father of the child, presents himself as a “just” man, again not on the ethical-legal level of the old covenant like the Pharisees, but in the evangelical sense of the new covenant, as one who thoroughly fulfills the divine will—even without thoroughly understanding it—with absolute trust in God. He is the just and obedient man, open to God’s ways and docile to his will.

Joseph—who never speaks, of whom the Gospel doesn’t recall even one word, a silent and strong man, simple and energetic, practical and free—is also a dreamer.  The fate of the world was entrusted to his dreams because the just man has the same dreams as God. Today we need dreamers who are committed to making their dreams come true. It takes courage to dream, not mere imagination. Dreaming means not being content with the world as it is, but rather having the courage to see and imagine the most humane and the happiest future for everyone. Shakespeare said that “we are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep” (The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1, lines 1887-1889).

“When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Mt 1:24). He doesn’t hesitate. Now he knows that God is asking him to do the hardest, not the easiest thing, and he decides not to leave Mary—not to run away; he abandons his doubts and decides to do God’s will (Mt 1:24). Maybe he knew the saying of his wife, Mary: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38) because in silence he repeats the same thing with his attitude when he gets up: “Here is your servant. Use me”. His willingness to choose God’s will, even if it is the most difficult and incomprehensible, his courage of faith not to run away but to stay and collaborate with God, changes Saint Joseph’s life forever. It will be his rule of life. Saint Joseph is like Abraham. He always walked without knowing where God was taking him, but he journeyed in serenity, knowing that he was in God’s hands.

Joseph accepts the legal paternity of the child; he will give him his last name. In this way, Jesus, the son of the Virgin Mary, is directly linked to the dynasty of King David. The Son of God is now also the son of David. He receives his name from his legal father. Joseph names him as the angel has indicated: Jesus, in Hebrew yehoshua, means “The Lord saves”. The divine origin of Jesus and his saving mission are wonderfully condensed in his name. That is why he was born, that is why he came into the world, as the angel explained to Joseph: “He will save his people from their sins” (v. 21). From now on Joseph will be the father of Jesus. He will walk in faith before the mystery of that son who is growing up before his eyes, who was his own but at the same time was not, welcoming the mystery of God in him through loving care and the silence of faith.

Saint Joseph’s life isn’t the life of a man who seeks his own fulfillment no matter how much it costs, who wants to do what’s convenient for him, whatever he pleases, and whatever sets him apart; but rather, his is the exemplary life of a man who denies himself, who doesn’t run away in the face of difficulties, and who humbles himself to let God lead the way. He hasn’t allowed himself to be paralyzed by doubt and fear in the face of the incomprehensible, nor has he allowed himself to be guided by a reasonable plan that he himself organized in human terms; rather, responding to God’s wishes, he has renounced his will in order to give himself over to the will of the Other, to the magnificent will of the Most High. In this way, he shows us that a person is completely fulfilled through this complete renunciation of self in order to do God’s will.

This Christmas we contemplate Saint Joseph, with the Virgin and the Child in the manger; Joseph—who had an unwavering trust in God, which allowed him to accept a situation that was difficult in human terms and, in a certain sense, incomprehensible. May he teach us that to be righteous is to be human; that to be a believer is to trust and obey God; and, that to be a believer it isn’t necessary to speak much. Joseph never spoke in the Gospel, because, as Saint John of the Cross says, “what is wanting, if anything is wanting, is not writing or speaking—rather these usually superabound—but silence and work.”

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome, and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, he currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

 

RIZI-Francisco_Dream of St Joseph_IMA
The Dream of St. Joseph
Francisco Rizi (Spanish, 1608-1685)
Oil on canvas, about 1665
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Gallery label

In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court.

The artist’s forceful draftsmanship, fluid brushwork, and radiant color exemplify the most important tendencies of late Baroque painting in Madrid.

Rizi was born in Spain, the son of a Bolognese painter who worked for Philip II at the royal complex of El Escorial. In 1656 Rizi became royal painter to Philip IV. He was also a stage designer.

Learn more about this painting here. Learn more about Francisco Rizi here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

O Rex Gentium

Jesús, no puedo ir más allá en mi petición, temería verme aplastada bajo el peso de mis audaces deseos…

La excusa que tengo es que soy una niña, y los niños no piensan en el alcance de sus palabras. Sin embargo sus padres, cuando ocupan un trono y poseen inmensos tesoros, no dudan en satisfacer los deseos de esos pequeñajos a los que aman tanto como a sí mismos; por complacerles, hacen locuras y hasta se vuelven débiles…

Pues bien, yo soy la HIJA de la Iglesia, y la Iglesia es Reina, pues es tu Esposa, oh, divino Rey de reyes…

No son riquezas ni gloria (ni siquiera la gloria del cielo) lo que pide el corazón del niñito… El entiende muy bien que la gloria pertenece a sus hermanos, los ángeles y los santos… La suya será un reflejo de la que irradia de la frente de su madre.

Lo que él pide es el amor… No sabe más que una cosa: amarte, Jesús…

Las obras deslumbrantes le están vedadas: no puede predicar el Evangelio, ni derramar su sangre… Pero ¿qué importa?, sus hermanos trabajan en su lugar, y él, como un niño pequeño, se queda muy cerquita del trono del Rey y de la Reina y ama por sus hermanos que luchan…

¿Pero cómo podrá demostrar él su amor, si es que el amor se demuestra con obras? Pues bien, el niñito arrojará flores, aromará con sus perfumes el trono real, cantará con su voz argentina el cántico del amor…

Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús

 Historia de un alma
Manuscrito B, Folio 4 recto

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux38_July 1896 Blogfeatimage
1896 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Jesus, I cannot fathom the depths of my request; I would be afraid to find myself overwhelmed under the weight of my bold desires.

My excuse is that I am a child, and children do not reflect on the meaning of their words; however, their parents, once they are placed upon a throne and possess immense treasures, do not hesitate to satisfy the desires of the little ones whom they love as much as they love themselves. To please them they do foolish things, even going to the extent of becoming weak for them.

Well, I am the Child of the Church and the Church is a Queen since she is Your Spouse, O divine King of kings.

The heart of a child does not seek riches and glory (even the glory of heaven). She understands that this glory belongs by right to her brothers, the angels and saints. Her own glory will be the reflected glory which shines on her Mother’s forehead.

What this child asks for is Love. She knows only one thing: to love You, O Jesus.

Astounding works are forbidden to her; she cannot preach the Gospel, shed her blood; but what does it matter since her brothers work in her stead and she, a little child, stays very close to the throne of the King and Queen. She loves in her brothers’ place while they do the fighting.

But how will she prove her love since love is proved by works? Well, the little child will strew flowers, she will perfume the royal throne with their sweet scents, and she will sing in her silvery tones the canticle of Love.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Story of a Soul
Manuscript B, Folio 4 recto

Advent IV — Listen

SCRIPTURE

Once again Yahweh spoke to Ahaz and said, “Ask Yahweh your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.” “No,” Ahaz answered, “I will not put Yahweh to the test.” Then he said:

Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son
whom she will call Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:10-14


READING

The holy time of Advent is here; it seems to me that it is very especially the season of interior souls, those who live unceasingly and through everything wholly “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3) at the center of themselves.

In expectation of the great mystery, I love to go deeply into that beautiful psalm XVIII, which we often say at Matins, and particularly these verses:

There he has placed his tent in the sun, and this star comes forth like a bridegroom coming from his bed, rejoices like a champion to run its course. At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun; to the furthest end of the sky is its course; nothing is concealed from its burning heat (Ps. 19:4-7).

Let us empty our soul so He can come forth in it and communicate the eternal life (cf. Jn. 17:2) that is its own; the Father has given Him “power over all flesh” (Jn. 17:2) for that purpose, as we are told in the Gospel.

And then, in the silence of prayer, let us listen to Him, for He is the “Source” (Jn. 8:25) who speaks within us and who has said: “He who sent me is true, and I tell all I have heard from Him” (Jn. 8:26).

Let us ask Him to make us true in our love, to make us sacrificial beings, for it seems to me that sacrifice is only love put into action: “He loved me, He gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

I love this thought, that the life of the priest (and of the Carmelite) is an Advent that prepares for the Incarnation in souls.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 250 to Abbé Chevignard
Around 29 November 1905

 


Scripture reference provided by St. John’s Catholic Church, Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

O Oriens

Mi Amado, las montañas,
los valles solitarios nemorosos,
las ínsulas extrañas,
los ríos sonorosos,
el silbo de los aires amorosos,

la noche sosegada
en par de los levantes del aurora,
la música callada,
la soledad sonora,
la cena que recrea y enamora.

San Juan de la Cruz

 Cántico Espiritual (Redacción B)
Canciónes entre el alma y el esposo
Canciónes 14-15

 

Juan de la Cruz (15) writing
St. John of the Cross, enlightened by the Holy Spirit | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

My Beloved, the mountains,
and lonely wooded valleys,
strange islands,
and resounding rivers,
the whistling of love-stirring breezes,

the tranquil night
at the time of the rising dawn,
silent music,
sounding solitude,
the supper that refreshes and deepens love.

Saint John of the Cross

The Spiritual Canticle (Redaction B)
Songs between the soul and the Bridegroom
Stanzas 14-15

 

John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

O Clavis David

Mi alma exiliada a la tierra
Aspira a la felicidad eterna
Nada la satisfaría
que ver a su Dios en el cielo.
Pero antes de verlo sin sombra
Quiero luchar por Jesús…
para ganar almas sin número
¡Quiero amarlo más y más!…
Mi vida pasará como un día
Pronto sin vela, sin nube
Veré a Jesús, mi amor
Por allí… En la orilla celestial
¡Me besará para siempre!

Pasaron por ti en los días de la victoria…
Y el honor
Ya tus enemigos quieren ocultar tu gloria
En su furia
Pronto te tomarán, te harán prisionero…
Una mazmorra negra
Se convertirá en tu refugio, te quedarás sin luz…
Pero cada noche
Bajando a ti, Juana, dulce martirio…
Nosotros que te amamos
Para encantarte, al sonido de nuestra lira
Cantaremos.
Pobre niña, no tengas miedo, te consolarás.
En tu desgracia
Te prometemos que te entregaremos…
Por el Señor!….

Santa Teresa del Niño Jesús

Pía Recreación 3: Juana de Arco cumpliendo su misión

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_13 (2)
Thérèse de l’Enfant Jésus, 1895 | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

My soul in earthly exile
Aspires to eternal happiness.
Nothing can satisfy it
But to see its God in Heaven.
But before seeing Him clearly,
I want to fight for Jesus…
To win Him countless souls.
I want to love Him more and more! …
My life will pass like a single day
And soon without veil or cloud
I will see Jesus, my love. There….
On that Heavenly shore,
He will embrace me forever!!!

They have passed for you, the days of victory
And honor.
Already your enemies seek to hide your glory
In their rage.
Soon they will take you and make you a prisoner.
A dark dungeon
Will become your shelter, you will be without light.
But every evening
Descending to you, Joan, sweet martyr,
We who love you
Will sing to the tune of our lyre
To delight you.
Do not fear, poor child, you will be consoled
In your sorrow.
We promise you, you will be delivered
By the Lord!….

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Pious Recreation 3: Joan of Arc Accomplishing Her Mission

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑