My dear sister Annie and her daughter, my sweet niece Deborah,
I miss you both so much and love you for ever and ever!
"The disease of a lugubrious face. Those glum and dour persons who think that to be serious we have to put on a face of melancholy and severity, and treat others –- especially those we consider our inferiors –- with rigour, brusqueness and arrogance. In fact, a show of severity and sterile pessimism are frequently symptoms of fear and insecurity. An apostle must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A heart filled with God is a happy heart which radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So let us not lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humour! We would do well to recite often the prayer of St. Thomas More. I say it every day, and it helps."
“Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humour to maintain it. Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumbling, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called ‘I’. Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humour. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke and to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others."
**The book in which this meditation appears was first published in 1902. At that time, the Church celebrated the Circumcision of Our Lord one week after Christmas on the Octave Day of Christmas, January 1. That explains Mother Loyola's reference to Christ shedding some of his blood "in a week's time". This feast is still kept and celebrated on January 1 in the Traditional Latin Mass. In the Ordinary Form of the Mass, January 1 is now known as the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. As an aside, this particular book by Mother Loyola was recently republished in 2011 and is available from various booksellers.
Teach me, my God, to suffer in peace the afflictions which You send me that my soul may emerge from the crucible like gold, both brighter and purer, to find You within me. Trials like these, which are present seem unbearable, will eventually become light, and I shall be anxious to suffer again, if by so doing I can render You greater service. And however numerous may be my troubles and persecutions...they will all work together for my greater gain though I do not myself bear them as they should be borne, but in a way which is most imperfect. ~St. Teresa of Avila
Dear St. Stephen, whose only weapon was love, help us to look up steadfastly to heaven that we may see what you saw and be filled with courage, hope and strength. Amen.
|Mosaic created by Mother Praxedes|
Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethelehem, CT
FYI: Ave Maria! The above is a Lutheran hymn often sung during Advent. It was written in German by Philipp Nicolai and first published in 1599. Later, in 1731, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his Cantata No. 140, titled "Wachet Auf, ruft uns die Stimme," based on this hymn. You can read more here as well as listen to The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir perform this truly magnificent cantata, which is one of Bach's most well-known works. You can also listen just to the hymn here and elsewhere on YouTube. Rejoice, the King is near!
O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel, that openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: come and bring the prisoner forth from the prison-house, and him that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death. (cf. Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7; Luke 1:79)
Come, O Key of David, and by Your love unlock the yes in my heart so that I may echo Our Lady's fiat. Like her and with her, may I too give birth to the Light of the World. Amen.
O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, Who didst appear to Moss in the flame of the burning bush, and didst give unto him the law on Sinai: come and with an outstretched arm redeem us. (Exodus 3:2; 20:1)
O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence. (cf. Sirach 24:5; Wisdom 8:1)
FYI! Ave Maria! As to be expected, a Google search will yield a wealth of material about the O Antiphons, which the Church begins singing today, December 17, at the Magnificat during Vespers/Evening Prayer. I highly recommend in particular the excellent resources to be found here, here, here, here and here. As an aside, I began praying the Divine Office in 1966, so this is the 48th Advent I have humbly and happily joined the Church in singing these magnificent O Antiphons. Back then, I was a wide-eyed, head-in-the-clouds, 18-year old postulant with the Springfield Franciscans. Now I am a wide-eyed, feet-on-the-ground, 66-year-old consecrated virgin in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Yes, you read that correctly -- I am still wide-eyed. Deo gratias! When it comes to our dear Lord and His marvelous, inexplicable ways, I am still astonished, trusting, simple, innocent, stupefied, amazed, impressionable, dumbfounded, agog, agape, thunderstruck, awe-stricken and spellbound. In other words, to quote St. Thomas Aquinas, I am -- and, please God, I always will be! -- "lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art." O come, let us adore Him!