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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Nativity of Our Lord 2007

Let every soul, then, enter the stable and see that tender Infant, who is weeping as He lies in the manger on that miserable straw. See how beautiful He is; look at the light which He sends forth, and the love which He breathes; those eyes send out arrows which wound the hearts that desire HIm; the very stable, the very straw, cry out, says St Bernard, and tell you to love Him Who loves you; to love God, Who is infinite love; and Who came down from Heaven, and made Himself a little child, and became poor, to make you understand the love He bears you, and to gain your love by His sufferings.

[Our Holy Father St Alphonsus, The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ, Pg. 148]

The Fathers and Brothers of the

Transalpine Redemptorists,


the Golgotha Monastery Island,

Papa Stronsay extend to you their warmest greetings

and best wishes for this holy and joyful

season of Christmas.
We will remember you all in our Midnight Mass,

'On that most blessed, holy and silent night of Christmas,

- When the rod of Jesse flowered and brought forth that never fading and Divine Rosebud,

-When the bright morning star ushered in that refulgent and everlasting Sun whose radiance dispelled the blindness and darkness of the hearts of men

-When a Child was born to us, the desire of the everlasting hills and the yearning of the prophets,

-When the heavenly choirs roused the dozing shepherds with the jubilant notes of the first Gloria.

-When the Lily of the valley and the Flower of the fields

blossomed in that tiny stable of Bethlehem.'

May the Most Holy Virgin Mother and Her New-Born Christ-Child, the Infant Jesus, bless, protect and shower you with every grace in this coming year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

"Consider how, after so many centuries, after so many prayers and sighs, the Messias Whom the holy Patriarchs and Prophets were not worthy to see, for Whom the nations sighed, the desire of the eternal hills, our Saviour is come! He is already born and has given Himself entirely to us. A child is born to us, and a son is given to us - (Isaias ix., 6)

"A child gives easily" says Saint Bernard; children readily give anything that is asked of them. Jesus came into the world as a Child, in order to show Himself ready and willing to give us all good gifts: In whom are hid all treasures - (Colossians ii., 3) The Father hath given all things into his hands - (John iii., 35)

If we wish for light, He is come to enlighten us. If we wish for strength to resist our enemies, He is come to comfort us. If we wish for pardon and salvation, He is come to pardon and save us. If in short, we desire the supreme gift of Divine love, He is come to inflame our hearts with it; and above all for this very purpose, He has become a child, and has chosen to show Himself to us deserving of our love, in proportion as He was poor and humble, in order to take away from us all fear, and to gain our affections."

[Novena for Christmas - Meditation III]

Basilica of Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Serious Issue

The time for sending out Catholic, together with our latest book has arrived once again. It has however been brought to our attention, by the alertness and quick thinking of Mr Richard Bullard, that for the last 6 months, (that is the last two issues) almost nobody in the USA who gets their copy of Catholic individually through the mail, has received it!
The devil is clearly at work here. We are doing our very best to rectify the situation, but we ask you please to be patient. The process has already begun, and all the copies of the latest Catholic for the USA agents are already on their way from Papa Stronsay to the US. The agent’s copies for all other countries will soon be following. As soon as we have organised the system of shipping the individual copies, they will also be sent out. Please bear with us. We are aware of the situation, and are at present doing all we can to sort things out. You can help us in this by imploring Our Lord and His Holy Mother to lend Their aid, and to ensure a safe passage for Catholic to the USA, and to the rest of the world.

We will be happy to reimburse those readers who have not received either the copy of Catholic containing the book “The Sign of the Cross” or the copy containing the book “Silent Night”, by adjusting their subscription accordingly. If you have missed out on either of these issues, then please email us. Since there is likely to be a very many such cases, we ask that you keep these emails as brief as possible, stating only how many copies you have missed out on, your name and your address. Thank you very much, and we offer our apologies to those who have missed out on their Catholics over the last 6 months.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Christmas Spirit

Once again, we find ourselves at ‘Gaudate Sunday’; Advent is almost over, and Christmas is just around the corner. And it will bring the same old thoughts to many of our minds: “I hope it will be a good Christmas this year”, or “I hope we have a better Christmas this year than we did last year”, or “Will Christmas be as good as last year?” But what we fail to realize, is that it is not up to mere chance how good our Christmas will or won’t be. How well something (and this is especially applicable to the great feasts of the Church) comes up to our expectations depends on the quality and fullness of the preparation that we give to it. So how good Christmas is going to be this year is completely within our own hands, since if we make a good preparation for Jesus’ birthday, then He will be sure to grant us many graces, one of them most certainly being a great spiritual joy. “But”, I hear you say, “Advent is almost over, what are you telling me this now for?” In answer, it is never too late. Today begins the novena for the feast of Christmas, the nine days leading up to Christmas day. A great thing to do for these last days of Advent, is to try and spend a little more time in prayer, thinking about and contemplating with great expectation the great mystery of God made man, which is about come about before us. Now practically, what does this mean? It could mean more time spent alone on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament or in our houses before the crucifix. However, although this is undoubtedly a great thing to do, often, it is hard enough to find time in the day for the little bit of prayer that is managed each day, and beside, Christ’s command was to pray always, and it is certainly not possible to spend ones entire life kneeling in prayer. Therefore if there is no time do devote solely to prayer, we must fit some prayer in while we’re working. During jobs which do no require us to focus all our attention on them, why not call to mind the mystery of the Incarnation, or some other aspect of our good Lord’s coming into this world, for example, the different virtues that He practiced in the stable at Bethlehem: His poverty, His silence, His spirit of prayer, His humility etc, or else simply repeat the holy names of Jesus and Mary – if possible you could count them on your beads, so that it demands even less attention, and thus makes it easier to do at the same time as something else. In this way, we can try and keep in our mind the upcoming feast of Christmas. We must remember that it is morally impossible for him to be saved who does not pray. Therefore, it is just a case of working out how to fit this prayer into our often busy and hectic daily lives.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Holy House of Loreto

Today is the feast of the translation of the house of the Holy Family to Loreto. In honour of this occasion, Rev Fr Michael Mary, C.SS.R. celebrated the Holy Mass by candlelight this morning, with the community assisting.

The Story of the Holy House of Loreto

Some time after the year 313, the emperor Constantine the Great had a great basilica built over the site of the Holy House of Nazareth, in which Our Lady, St Joseph and the child Jesus had lived. In about the year 1090, the Saracens invaded the Holy Land plundering and destroying many of the shrines sacred to Christians, and they did not spare the Basilica of the Holy House. However, the House itself was left intact. After the Crusaders had liberated the Holy Land from the Moslems, they built a new Basilica over the site. In 1263, the Moslems took the Holy Land once again, and again destroyed the Basilica, but the house escaped once more, being hidden under the ruins of the Basilica. Finally the Crusaders were totally driven out of the Holy Land. On May 10, 1291, the Holy House of Nazareth was lifted from its foundations by angels, and transported out of the Holy Land, to Dalmatia (present day Croatia) to a small town called Tersatto. The priest of the parish church, Alexander Georgevich, was most puzzled by the sudden arrival of a small church-like structure in his parish, and he prayed that he might know what was meant by it. He soon received a vision of Our Lady in a dream, and she told him that the building was the Holy house of Nazareth, in which had taken place the Annunciation. In confirmation of this, She cured him of an illness from which he had suffered a long time. In 1294, the Moslems took over Albania. Some shepherds reported seeing the house being carried through the air by angels on December 10th 1294. It was once laid to rest in woodland about 4 miles from Recanati, Italy. The news spread fast and soon it was visited by a great many pilgrims. But soon, bandits began attacking the pilgrims, and so the Holy House was once more transported by the angels, to a spot a small distance away. However, the land on which the house was now situated, belonged to two brothers, and the newly arrived building caused some arguments, and so the house was once more moved, and finally set down where it now stands. The people sent a group of 16 men to determine the exact origin of the building. The men took down all the dimensions and other characteristics of the house and then when first to Tersatto, and then to Nazareth. On returning, they were able to relate that the foundations of the house were still in Nazareth, and that they matched the house in Loreto which has no foundations.

The inside of the Holy House

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