Felix sit annus novus – Happy New Year 2017!!!

Wishing all a very blessed, peaceful, grace filled 2017! May our hearts be full and pure and our minds be clear and pure.

My prayer is for the Universal Call to Holiness to be heeded.

That we may be one as Jesus prayed to His father in heaven in John chapter 17.

Dream big, take one step at at a time and one day at a time.

With God, all things are possible.

Keep striving, never give up and never despair.

Faith, hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!!!

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Feast of The Holy Innocents, Martyrs: Mass, first reading from the First Letter of Saint John 1:5-2:2

God is Light.

5Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.6If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth.e7But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.f8If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves,* and the truth is not in us.g9If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.h10If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.i

* [1:14] There is a striking parallel to the prologue of the gospel of John (Jn 1:118), but the emphasis here is not on the preexistent Word but rather on the apostles’ witness to the incarnation of life by their experience of the historical Jesus. He is the Word of life (1 Jn 1:1; cf. Jn 1:4), the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible (1 Jn 1:2; cf. Jn 1:14), and was heard, seen, looked upon, and touched by the apostles. The purpose of their teaching is to share that life, called fellowship…with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ, with those who receive their witness (1 Jn 1:3; Jn 1:14, 16).

* [1:57] Light is to be understood here as truth and goodness; darkness here is error and depravity (cf. Jn 3:1921; 17:17; Eph 5:8). To walk in light or darkness is to live according to truth or error, not merely intellectual but moral as well. Fellowship with God and with one another consists in a life according to the truth as found in God and in Christ.

* [1:810] Denial of the condition of sin is self-deception and even contradictory of divine revelation; there is also the continual possibility of sin’s recurrence. Forgiveness and deliverance from sin through Christ are assured through acknowledgment of them and repentance.

Christ and His Commandments.

1My children,* I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.a2He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.b

The word of the Lord.

The reading above is taken from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website under Bible.

Below is taken from Magnificat December 2016 – Vol. 18, No. 10

Herod the Great had been elected “King of the Jews” by the Roman senate in 40 B.C. When the Magi told him of the birth of a new King of the Jews, Herod could think of nothing but wiping out the threat to his throne. The Holy Innocents are those children who were brutally murdered by Herod as he sought the Christ child. At his hand, the Church received her first martyrs. Little children, they were innocent of sin. By virtue of their bloody martyrdoms, they attained baptismal innocence, washed clean in the blood of the Lamb(cf. Rv 7:14)(Ex. 1:16, 22)

Today is the 19th anniversary of my brother Kenneth Charles DeFeo passing on from this life to the next. I believe God taking him on this feast day is no coincidence. Kenny was born into this world on 2/25/1960 and born into the life after on Dec. 28, 1997. He was the first born son to my mother and father, Elodia and Robert DeFeo, and my only sibling.

May the Divine assistance always remain with us and may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen!

And may perpetual light shine upon my brother Kenny forever and ever!!!

Prayer Before A Manger Scene: Merry Christmas 2016

Prayer Before A Manger Scene – (Fr Peter John Cameron O.P.)
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“No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a newborn child.” (CCC 563).

Lord Jesus, as I kneel before you manger in adoration, let my first Christmas word be: thank you. Thank you, Gift of the Father, for coming to save me from my sins. Without you I do not know even how to be human. The characteristics of your human body express the divine person of God’s Son. And in that wondrous expression, Lord you reveal me to myself. Thank you for that saving revelation in your sacred humanity. As the Christmas liturgy proclaims, “in Christ man restores to man the gift of everlasting life.” Thank you for coming as one like myself to save me from myself.

You come as a baby because babies are irresistible and adorable. You come as a baby because you want our first impression of God incarnate to be that of one who does not judge. How I long to be united with you in every way.

May I never be attracted to the allurements and charms of the world. May I love you always, at every moment, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. May the tenderness, the dependency, and the mercy that you reveal in your infancy become the hallmarks of my life.

Newborn Saviour, the very silence of your incarnation proclaims that the answer to the misery, the strife, and the meaninglessness of life cannot be found within us. You alone are the Answer. As I kneel before you, eternal King, I surrender to you all my selfishness, self-absorption, self-indulgence, self-righteousness, self-assertion, and selfexaltation. Even as I adore you on this night of your birth, rid me of the nagging desire to be adored.

Word become flesh, you make your dwelling among us. Yet you do not live your life for yourself, but for us. And you enable us to live in you all that you yourself lived. Help me to embrace this truth with all my mind and heart. Come and live your life in me. Empty me of my willfulness, my petulance, my hardness, my cynicism, my contemptuousness. Fill me with your truth, your strength, your fortitude, your purity, your gentleness, your generosity, your wisdom, your heart and your grace.

O Emmanuel, may the assurance of your unfailing Presence be for me the source of unending peace. May I never fear my weakness, my inadequacy, or my imperfection. Rather, as I gaze with faith, hope and love upon your incarnate littleness, may I love my own littleness, for God is with us. Endow my life with a holy wonder that leads me ever more deeply into the Mystery of Redemption and the meaning of my vocation and destiny.

Longed-for Messiah, your servant Saint Leo the Great well wrote that in the very act of reverencing the birth of our Savior, we are also celebrating our own new birth. From this night on may my life be a dedicated life of faith marked by holy reliance, receptivity, and resoluteness. May I make my life a total gift of self. May my humble worship of the nativity manifest how much I seek the father’s kingdom and his way of holiness. The beauty of your holy face bears the promise that your Father will provide for us in all things This Christmas I renew my trust in God’s goodness, compassion, and providence. I long for the day when you will teach us to pray “Our Father.”

May your Presence, Prince of Peace, bless the world with peace, the poor with care and prosperity, the despairing with hope and confidence, the grieving with comfort and gladness, the oppressed with freedom and deliverance, the suffering with solace and relief. Loving Jesus, you are the only real joy of every human heart. I place my trust in you.

Oh divine Fruit of Mary’s womb, may I love you in union with the holy Mother of God. May my life be filled with the obedience of Saint Joseph and the missionary fervor of the shepherds so that the witness of my life may shine like the star that leads the Magi to your manger. I ask all this with great confidence in your holy name. Amen.”

Pope Francis’ 10 Secrets to Happiness

  1. “Live and let live, that is the first step towards peace and joy.”
  2. Give oneself to others.
  3. “The capacity to move with kindness and humility, the peaceful oasis of life. Old people have this wisdom, they are the memory of a nation. And a nation that does not look after its old people has no future.”
  4. Play with children.
  5. Spend Sundays with family.
  6. Help young people find employment: “Bringing bread home is what gives you dignity.”
  7. Look after nature. “We have to look after creation and we are not doing it. It is one of the greatest challenges we have.”
  8. “Quickly forgetting what is negative is healthy.”
  9. Respect those who think differently. “The Church grows by attraction, not  by proselytism.”
  10. Actively seek peace. “Peace at times gives the impression of stillness, but it is never stillness, it is always an active peace.”

For the full article on Pope Francis’ 10 secrets to happiness click on the link below.

http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2014/in-latest-interview-pope-francis-reveals-top-10-secrets-to-happiness.cfm

A reading from the letter of Pope St Clement I to the Corinthians

Pope St Clement I was the 4th bishop of Rome after Peter, Linus and Cletus. He reigned as Pope from 89-100AD. The piece below is one of his letters to the Church at Corinth.

Repent

“Let us fix our thoughts on the blood of Christ; and reflect how precious that blood is in God’s eyes, inasmuch as its outpouring for our salvation has opened the grace of repentance to all mankind. For we have only to survey the generations of the past to see that in every one of them the Lord has offered the chance of repentance to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached repentance, those who gave heed to him were saved. When, after Jonah had proclaimed destruction to the people of Niniveh, they repented of their sins and made atonement to God with prayers and supplications, they obtained their salvation, notwithstanding that they were strangers and aliens to him.

All those who were ministers of the grace of God have spoken, through the Holy Spirit, of repentance. The very Lord of all himself has spoken of it, and even with an oath: By my life, the Lord declares, it is not the sinner’s death that I desire, so much as his repentance; and he adds this gracious pronouncement, Repent, O house of Israel, and turn from your wickedness. Say to the children of my people, Though your sins may stretch from earth to heaven, and though they may be redder than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, yet if you turn wholeheartedly to me and say ‘Father’, I will listen to you as I would to a people that was holy.

Thus, by his own almighty will, he has confirmed his desire that repentance should be open to every one of his beloved.

Let us bow, then, to that sovereign and glorious will. Let us entreat his mercy and goodness, casting ourselves upon his compassion and wasting no more energy in quarrels and a rivalry which only ends in death.

My brothers, do let us have a little humility; let us forget our self-assertion and braggadocio and stupid quarrelling, and do what the Bible tells us instead. The Holy Spirit says, The wise man is not to brag of his wisdom, nor the strong man of his strength, nor the rich man of his wealth; if a man must boast, he should boast of the Lord, seeking him out and acting with justice and uprightness. More particularly, let us remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said in one of his lessons on mildness and forbearance. Be merciful, he told us, that you may obtain mercy; forgive; that you may be forgiven. What you do yourself, will be done to you; what you give, will be given to you; as, you judge, so you will be judged; as you show kindness; so it will be shown to you. Your portion will be weighed out for you in your own scales. May this precept, and these commands, strengthen our resolve to live in obedience to his sacred words, and in humility of mind; for the holy word says, Whom shall I look upon, but him that is gentle and peaceable, and trembles at my sayings?

Thus there exists a vast heritage of glorious achievements for us to share in. Let us then make haste and get back to the state of tranquillity which was set before us in the beginning as the mark for us to aim at. Let us turn our eyes to the Father and Creator of the universe, and when we consider how precious and peerless are his gifts of peace, let us embrace them eagerly for ourselves.

A reading from the letter of Pope St Clement I to the Corinthians (Chs 7, 4-8, 3; 8, 5-9, 1; 13, 1-4; 19, 2)

Prepared by Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas

http://www.vatican.va/spirit/documents/spirit_20010228_clemente-i_en.html

Oremus Communications December 2016 Newsletter