Friday, December 29, 2006

Day in Octave of Christmas - comm St Thomas of Canterbury

It has been quite a few days since I posted anything, have been experiencing some connection problems and now am also in the midst of bidding for my next semester's modules.

a very simple rant before the actual post :)

I just had a great sem 1 (I feel) :) that's because I was a "make believe" arts student with 3 history modules and only 2 life science modules. Not that there is anything bad about being a science student. I love being a science student. The only drawback I feel is that the sciences, except for biology, makes my brain go flat. lol.

This semester I'm stuck with 4 science modules, Deo gratias!, 3 of them are at least life science modules. And yay, I'm sincerely looking forward to the French module I'm taking to "counter-act" the non-LSM science module - BioStatistics. lol again. :) ora pro me! gratias! :) An interesting point to note: in the old days, before modern science came about, biology was called natural philosophy. And I totally agree with the name. :P

Alright, enough blabbling away. Here are some very good meditation materiel that I wanted to post up but couldn't because of the modem problem for the past few days. My sister found them in a very good old book in the priory. :)

It's called Alone with God by Fr. J. Heyrman, S.J.

Here's the excerpt from the book:

December 28

1. There was a dread and consternation in the little town of Bethlehem, as Herod’s soldiers were snatching little infants from their mothers’ arms, and slaying them. Cries of grief resounded everywhere. In profound humility we bow in adoration before this decree of Providence.

2. Petition: May we always and in all things trustfully accept and adore the decrees of Providence in the government of our own souls and of the world at large.

I. The Cruelty of Herod

Only a while ago the heavens at Bethlehem were filled with the joyful song of the angels, and now the shrieks and groans of striken mothers fill the air. “A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing he children, and would not be comforted, because they are not” (Mt. 2:18)

Herod, a cunning and cruel oriental despot, who out of hatred and jealousy had murdered many of his own relatives, had decreed to kill the new King, about whom the Wise Men of the East had told him. “Then Herod, perceiving that he was deluded by the Wise Men, was exceedingly angry: and sending killed all the male children that were in Bethlehem and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under” (Mt. 2:16). To what monstrous crimes a man can be driven by an unbridled passion! Remorselessly Herod sacrifices innocent children to his ambition and his jealousy. What had he to fear from the King of Peace?

Non eripit mortalia
Qui regna dat celestia

He does not snatch away earthly crowns
Who bestows a heavenly Kingdom.

Thus the Church sings at Vespers on the eve of the Epiphany. Self-love, when uncontrolled, can drive a man to the utmost limits of stupidity, blindness, and cruelty, where every vestige of justice vanishes. Remember also the cowardice and vacillation of Pilate, who to safeguard his own interests condemned an innocent Man.

II. God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways

In this frightful tragedy we cannot help asking ourselves: How could God allow it? Are these the ways of Providence? These ways are indeed inscrutable. How often does it seem that supreme Power fails when faced with the powers of Evil. Could not God have saved His Son from the clutches of that tiger, Herod, whose son and heir Jesus would call “that fox”? Why did Divine justice not strike the brutal tyrant now, as it would chastise him later? Then there would have been no need for Mary to flee with the Child into Egypt, and the innocent babies would not have been slain.

Why did the Divine Justice not stretch out its avenging hand? We humbly confess that the ways of the Lord are inscrutable.

And what did mothers of Bethlehem feel when they were told that their children had perished, whilst the victim sought by Herod had escaped? Poor desolate Rachel! Her children are the first martyrs to bear testimony to Christ. Their blood will fertilise the earth, and in God’s own time a golden harvest of souls will rise.

But it remains true that God’s ways are not our ways. We cannot unravel the mystery of His Providence: it is the Providence of a loving Father, of a Father who abideth in heaven and who sees so much further than our eyes can reach. He is wiser than we are and more powerful, and infallibly He guides us to the goal He has appointed for us, in His love and mercy: eternal bliss in heaven.

III. Joy and Suffering at the Manger

It has been said that, when Jesus enters the life of a man He comes with His blessing and His cross. So it was with Mary and Joseph, with the shepherds of Bethlehem, who heard the tidings of great joy: with the mothers of Bethlehem who mourned their little ones.

The life of every man is a succession of blessings and of trials. God Himself has mapped out our course, He spares our weakness but steadily directs us to the goal He has appointed for us. He does not lay burdens on us that are beyond our strength, and when we fail and falter He is there to raise us up. Our duty is humbly to trust, to accept, to adore the divine Counsel. “Yea, Father, thus it has pleased Thee.”

Prayer: O Lord, give light to our minds and strength to our hearts, that we may know and firmly believe that “to them that love God all things work together unto good”, and that nothing “shall be able to separate us from Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:28, 39)

Here's another excerpt from the book:

December 27

1. St John is the disciple “whom Jesus loved”, and to whom on the cross He entrusted His holy Mother; “from that hour the disciple took her to his own” (19:27). We may rightly think that Mary related to St John all she knew about her Divine Son, “how the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us”.

2. Petition: Grace to understand better John’s lesson of love, and to practice it more thoroughly every day of our life.

I. The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved

John calls himself by that name. We know that he wrote his Gospel when all the other apostles were dead; otherwise delicacy would have prevented him from claiming this title.

Jesus loved all the disciples with His whole heart; yet among them there were three to whom He showed special predilection: Peter, James and John. They had accompanied Him to the mountain and seen His glory; they had entered with Him the garden of Gethsemane and had beheld Him lying prostrate on the ground. And among these three Jesus seems to have shown greater affection for John. At the Last Supper, John was very close to Jesus. “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples whom Jesus loved” (Jn. 13:23). To him Jesus revealed who was the man that was to betray Him. John was the only one of the Twelve to stand beneath the cross, and Jesus entrusted His Mother to him.

Humbly and reverently, remembering that the Almighty is free to elect whomsoever He pleases, we may ask, why was John the disciple whom Jesus loved? John was not exempt from petty human failings, no more than the others. He together with his brother James had urged their mother to ask that her sons might occupy the first places when the Kingdom would be established; and when, one day they had stood before the closed gates of a town of Samaria, these two sons of Zebedee, whom Jesus Himself had dubbed Boanerges, which means “fanatics”, had said to Jesus: “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? And turning, he rebuked them, saying: “You know not of what spirit you are” (Lk. 9:54,55). Theirs was not yet the spirit of Jesus, who “came not to destroy souls, but to save” (ib. 56). They had to learn of Him that He is meek and humble of heart.

There is an ancient tradition that John had preserved his virginity; and for this reason Jesus bore him special love, and for this reason also Jesus was pleased to entrust His blessed Mother to him.

God’s creative love is free; it is not bound by any law, neither is it subject to caprice. “Is thy eye evil, because I am good?” said the householder to the disgruntled labourers (Mt. 20:15). In all things and at all times it behoves us to thank God and obey His decrees.

II. Behold Thy Mother

John himself heard these words from the lips of the dying Saviour, and he set them down in his Gospel. “Woman, behold thy son; behold thy mother.” Simple but creative words, words which God alone can utter. During many centuries the Church has pondered over them, ever penetrating deeper into their meaning, and which perhaps is not yet fully understood.

At the foot of the cross Mary is given a new mission; she is appointed by Christ to be the mother of all the brothers and sisters of her Son. Together with John, all of us are entrusted to her as her children.

We pray that John, who from that moment “took her to his own”, would obtain for us the grace to love and honour the Mother of Jesus as our own Mother, as he did until the day when she was assumed into heaven.

III. The Apostle of Love

The eagle is the symbol of St John among the Evangelists. What his piercing eye has discovered in God he has communicated to us in the words “God is Charity, and he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him” (I Jn. 4:16). Nor may we forget those other words: “If any man say: I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar” (ib. 20).

When the Apostle had become very old, his only words to his disciples were “Little children love ye one another”; and when they asked him whether he could not teach them any other lesson, he replied: “It is the Lord’s own commandment.” Our Lord Himself had called brotherly love his own commandment. “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn. 15:12). It was not the first commandment, but like unto it and inseparable from it, and its observance proves that we truly love God. These words should be remembered by every disciple of Jesus, above all by those who strive to lead a holy life and who would follow Christ closely.

Prayer: “Pour into our hearts, O Lord, the spirit of Thy Love, so that all those whom Thou hast fed with the same heavenly Bread, may through Thy fatherly goodness be united in Thee, through Christ our Lord (Postcommunion Votice Mass for concord).

O St John, who with great love and reverence didst take the Mother of Christ “to thy own”, intercede with her for us, and teach us how to abide in the presence of the Mother of God.
and thus, I will end here for today. :) God Bless all reading this.

Jesus, Mary, I love Thee, Save Souls!

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