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Category Archives: SAINTS WE LOVE

SAINT JOHN, Apostle and Evangelist – Feast: 27 December

On this feast of Saint John, let’s now read the first four verses of his first letter (1 John 1:1-4).

We will examine the community that gathered around him which has been called the Johannine community. Their special experience of the Lord and Christian living is captured for us in this reading. They probably lived in present day Turkey (Ephesus). It was a “rainbow” community composed of Jewish Christian, former followers of John the Baptist, some Samaritans and Gentiles.

Their memories of the synagogues from which they had been expelled were bitter, hence their references to the “Jews”; their persecution by pagan governments scarred them, hence their references to the “world”. Finally, they were wounded by internal dissension that broke out into open schism.

This was the occasion for the letter of John. It is really a reflection on the experience of the Lord through a community tradition.

In today’s reading, John states that “we proclaim what we have seen, hard, touched and experienced” from the beginning. It was an apostolic experience which was proclaimed so that through hearing that Word later generations might have contact with the Lord.

When we hand on a tradition, we are doing a great deal more than passing on facts about Jesus. We transmit their significance as well. Tradition is more than giving a crucifix to a child. It is taking the time to explain the meaning of the cross.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, God the Almighty, who through Your apostle John unlocked for us the hidden treasures of Your Word, grant that we may grasp with fuller understanding the message he so admirably proclaimed. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 27 December 2018

A Christian Pilgrim

 

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Posted by on December 27, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT STEPHEN, The First Martyr – Feast: 26 December

Stephen was a much more complex figure than he is popularly pictured to be. The Book of Acts present initially an idyllic picture of the life of the Christian community. Suddenly, the Greek Christians complain about the neglect of Greek widows among them. 

It seems there were two groups of Jewish Christians. There was a Palestinian group who spoke Aramaic and a non-Palestinian group who spoke Greek. To accommodate this latter group, the Twelve (Apostles) ordained 7 (seven) deacons to serve the widows.

Then, of a sudden, Stephen is doing a great deal more than waiting on widows. He is preaching like an Apostle and criticizing Temple and Torah as well. In a popular form of lynch law, the Jews stone him on the spot. The Book of Acts tells us that even this was part of God’s design.

Prayer: Give us grace, Lord God, to practice what we worship. Teach us to love our enemies as we keep the feast of Saint Stephen, who prayed even for the men who stoned him to death. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 26 December 2018

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Posted by on December 26, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS, Priest and Doctor of the Church – Memoria: 14 December

Saint John of the Cross was born at Fontiveros in Old Castile in Spain about the year 1542. He was a Carmelite friar and about the year 1568 he was persuaded by Saint Teresa of Avila to be the first to undertake the reform of his Order, which cost him much hard work and many trials. His efforts to reform the Carmelites eventuated in his imprisonment, during which time he wrote poetry.

John of the Cross is among the greatest of mystics. Through him, we have a detailed account of the stages of spiritual growth. The “night of the senses” is characterized by total detachment whereby we relinquish our desires. This preliminary stage is followed by the “dark night of the soul” wherein we come to experience God wordlessly, without image or concept. This is not a stage of visions, voices or inspirations. It is silent communion. It is called a “dark night” because we are left without maps or familiar landmarks. We let God take over.

John of the Cross reminds us that this quest for deep spiritual experience of God is not uncommon. Many people are thirsting for it but their readiness is often not recognized by spiritual directors who retain them on a much more primitive level of spiritual life. John also reminds us that this experience of “night” is not identical with spiritual failure. The spiritual life is not all night. God’s re-creating us is serious business. Furthermore, the spiritual life is a great deal more than pious thoughts. We are changed, says John, not by our loving God but by letting ourselves be loved by God. “The Lover is transformed in the Beloved.”

John of the Cross died at Ubeda in Andalusia in 1591. He was outstanding in holiness and knowledge as his many spiritual writings testify.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You gave Saint John of the Cross the grace of complete self-denial and an ardent love for the cross of Christ. Grant that by following always in his footsteps we may come to the eternal vision of Your glory. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 13 December 2018

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Posted by on December 14, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY – Solemnity: 8 December

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we rejoice in the privilege of our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, which preserved her from the stain of sin by the power of Christ’s redeeming death, and prepared her to be the Mother of God. Grant that through her prayers we ourselves may come to You, cleansed by all sin. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 8 December 2018

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Posted by on December 8, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT AMBROSE, Bishop and Doctor of the Church – Memoria: 7 December

Ambrose was born at Trier of a Roman family about the year 340. He studied law at Rome. He had been a lawyer and governor of Milan. A ferocious war continued between Arian Christians and Trinitarian Christians some fifty years after the Council of Nicaea. The bishop of Milan had died and both sides ran candidates for the office.

Ambrose went to the cathedral to supervise the election. As he was sitting in the front during an impasse, a little boy looked up and, thinking Ambrose to be the new bishop, shouted, “Ambrose is bishop!” The idea caught on and he was unexpectedly elected by acclamation. The problem was that he was not baptized. A great deal of red tape was cut to have him baptized, ordained and then consecrated. He was ordained on 7 December in the year 374.

Ambrose was bishop during a time of savage and volatile politics. He is known for opposing paganism and Arianism and for baptizing Augustine  (Saint Augustine of Hippo). He carried out the work of his office assiduously, being a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful, and especially did he show charity towards all. He strenuously guarded the rights of the Church, and in his writings and his work defended the true faith against the Arians mentioned above. The Advent hymn, “Creator of the Stars of Night” is attributed to Saint Ambrose. He died on 4 April, Holy Saturday, in the year 397.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You made Saint Ambrose a teacher of the Catholic faith and a pattern of apostolic fortitude. Raise up in the Church today men after Your own heart to lead Your people with wisdom and strength. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta,  7 December 2018

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Posted by on December 7, 2018 in READ & PRAY, SAINTS WE LOVE

 

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SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER – FEAST: 3 DECEMBER

Jakarta, 3 December 2018

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SAINT ANDREW, Apostle – Feast: 30 November

Andrew was born at Bethsaida. He was formerly a disciple of John the Baptist and then followed Christ, to whom he brought his brother Peter. With Philip he introduced the Gentiles to Christ and he was the apostle who pointed out the boy with the loaves and fishes. Traditions has it that after Pentecost he preached the gospel in many different places and finally suffered death on a cross in Achaia. Andrew is a patron saint of Russia.

Today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 4:18-22) reports the disciples’ leaving everything to follow Christ. Andrew and his brother Peter were among the first to be called by the Lord. 

In the first reading (Romans 10:9-18), Paul reminds us about the role of an Apostle. People cannot believe unless they hear; they cannot hear unless someone takes the time to present the Gospel message persuasively; someone cannot preach with authority unless he is sent. The apostles were sent after they had experienced the saving events of Christ’s life, death and Resurrection. That is also what we are called to do a Christmas time. We prepare ourselves during Advent to experience the Lord’s presence with new power so that we can continue the apostolic mission to others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You called Saint Andrew Your Apostle to preach the Gospel and to guide Your Church. We humbly pray that he may always plead for us in Your presence. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Jakarta, 30 November 2018

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