Saturday, December 31, 2011


The Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions for January 2012

That the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives.

That the dedication of Christians to peace may bear witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will.


The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

1 Jn 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.

R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.

R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.

R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Jn 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
"This was he of whom I said,
'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'"
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side,
has revealed him.


December 31

St. Sylvester I (d. 335)

When you think of this pope, you think of the Edict of Milan, the emergence of the Church from the catacombs, the building of the great basilicas, Saint John Lateran, Saint Peter’s and others, the Council of Nicaea and other critical events. But for the most part, these events were planned or brought about by Emperor Constantine.

A great store of legends has grown up around the man who was pope at this most important time, but very little can be established historically. We know for sure that his papacy lasted from 314 until his death in 335. Reading between the lines of history, we are assured that only a very strong and wise man could have preserved the essential independence of the Church in the face of the overpowering figure of the Emperor Constantine. The bishops in general remained loyal to the Holy See and at times expressed apologies to Sylvester for undertaking important ecclesiastical projects at the urging of Constantine.


O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

Christ has been born for us: come, let us worship him.

– Christ has been born for us: come, let us worship him.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

– Christ has been born for us: come, let us worship him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

– Christ has been born for us: come, let us worship him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

– Christ has been born for us: come, let us worship him.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

– Christ has been born for us: come, let us worship him.


Jesu, the Ransomer of man,
Who, ere created light began,
Didst from the sovereign Father spring,
His power and glory equalling!
Salvation’s Author, call to mind
How, taking form of humankind,
Born of a Virgin undefiled,
Thou in man’s flesh becam’st a Child.
The heavens above, the rolling main
And all that earth’s wide realms contain,
With joyous voice now loudly sing
The glory of their newborn King.
And we who, by thy precious Blood
From sin redeemed, are marked for God,
On this the day that saw thy birth,
Sing the new song of ransomed earth.
All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

Psalm 95 (96)
The Lord, the universal King and judge

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad at the presence of the Lord, for he comes.

Sing a new song to the Lord,
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
day after day, proclaim his saving power.
Proclaim his glory to the nations,
proclaim to all peoples the wonders he has done.
For the Lord is great; great is the praise we owe him,
he is to be feared above all gods.
The gods of the nations are foolishness,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Majesty and splendour are all about him,
power and honour in his holy place.
Bring to the Lord, clans of the peoples,
bring to the Lord glory and power,
bring to the Lord the glory that belongs to his name.
Bring your offerings, enter his courts,
worship the Lord in holy attire.
Tremble at his presence, all the earth.
Say to the nations: “The Lord reigns!”
For he has set the world firm, so that it cannot be shaken,
and he will judge the peoples with fairness.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad,
let the sea and its fulness resound.
The fields will rejoice, and all that is in them,
all the trees of the woods will rejoice
at the Lord’s presence – for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge all the world with justice.
He will judge all the peoples with fairness.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad at the presence of the Lord, for he comes.

Psalm 96 (97)
The glory of God in his judgements

Light shines forth for the just and joy for the upright of heart. Alleluia.

The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice,
let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and dark mist surround him,
his throne is founded on law and justice.
Fire precedes him,
burning up his enemies all around.
His lightnings light up the globe;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains flow like wax at the sight of the Lord,
at the sight of the Lord the earth dissolves.
The heavens proclaim his justice
and all peoples see his glory.
Let them be dismayed, who worship carved things,
who take pride in the images they make.
All his angels, worship him.
Zion heard and was glad,
the daughters of Judah rejoiced
because of your judgements, O Lord.
For you are the Lord, the Most High over all the earth,
far above all other gods.
You who love the Lord, hate evil!
The Lord protects the lives of his consecrated ones:
he will free them from the hands of sinners.
A light has arisen for the just,
and gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice, you just, in the Lord
and proclaim his holiness.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Light shines forth for the just and joy for the upright of heart. Alleluia.

Psalm 97 (98)
The Lord has brought salvation

The Lord has made known his salvation. Alleluia.

Sing a new song to the Lord,
for he has worked wonders.
His right hand, his holy arm,
have brought him victory.
The Lord has shown his saving power,
and before all nations he has shown his justice.
He has remembered to show his kindness
and his faithfulness to the house of Israel.
The farthest ends of the earth
have seen the saving power of our God.
Rejoice in God, all the earth.
Break forth in triumph and song!
Sing to the Lord on the lyre,
with the lyre and with music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn,
sound jubilation to the Lord, our king.
Let the sea resound in its fulness,
all the earth and all its inhabitants.
The rivers will clap their hands,
and the mountains will exult at the presence of the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge all the world in justice,
and the peoples with fairness.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Lord has made known his salvation. Alleluia.

Last of all, God has spoken to us through his Son,
– through whom he created all the ages.

Colossians 2:4-15

I say this to make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments. I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am there among you, delighted to find you all in harmony and to see how firm your faith in Christ is.

You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received – Jesus the Lord; you must be rooted in him and built on him and held firm by the faith you have been taught, and full of thanksgiving.

Make sure that no one traps you and deprives you of your freedom by some second-hand, empty, rational philosophy based on the principles of this world instead of on Christ.

In his body lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfilment, in the one who is the head of every Sovereignty and Power.

In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision not performed by human hand, but by the complete stripping of your body of flesh. This is circumcision according to Christ. You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. You were dead, because you were sinners and had not been circumcised: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.

He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross; and so he got rid of the Sovereignties and the Powers, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession.


The fulness of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority.

When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ, and in baptism we were also raised with Christ through faith in the active power of God. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority.

A sermon of Pope St Leo the Great

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace

God’s Son did not disdain to become a baby. Although with the passing of the years he moved from infancy to maturity, and although with the triumph of his passion and resurrection all the actions of humility which he undertook for us were finished, still today’s festival renews for us the holy childhood of Jesus born of the Virgin Mary. In adoring the birth of our Saviour, we find we are celebrating the commencement of our own life, for the birth of Christ is the source of life for Christian folk, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body.

Every individual that is called has his own place, and all the sons of the Church are separated from one another by intervals of time. Nevertheless, just as the entire body of the faithful is born in the font of baptism, crucified with Christ in his passion, raised again in his resurrection, and placed at the Father’s right hand in his ascension, so with Him are they born in this nativity.

For this is true of any believer in whatever part of the world, that once he is reborn in Christ he abandons the old paths of his original nature and passes into a new man by being reborn. He is no longer counted as part of his earthly father’s stock but among the seed of the Saviour, who became the Son of man in order that we might have the power to be the sons of God.

For unless He came down to us in this humiliation, no one could reach his presence by any merits of his own.

The very greatness of the gift conferred demands of us reverence worthy of its splendour. For, as the blessed Apostle teaches, We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things which are given us by God. That Spirit can in no other way be rightly worshipped, except by offering him that which we received from him.

But in the treasures of the Lord’s bounty what can we find so suitable to the honour of the present feast as the peace which at the Lord’s nativity was first proclaimed by the angel-choir?

For it is that peace which brings forth the sons of God. That peace is the nurse of love and the mother of unity, the rest of the blessed and our eternal home. That peace has the special task of joining to God those whom it removes from the world.

So those who are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God must offer to the Father the unanimity of peace-loving sons, and all of them, adopted parts of the mystical Body of Christ, must meet in the First-begotten of the new creation. He came to do not his own will but the will of the one who sent him; and so too the Father in his gracious favour has adopted as his heirs not those that are discordant nor those that are unlike him, but those that are one with him in feeling and in affection. Those who are re-modelled after one pattern must have a spirit like the model.

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace: for thus says the Apostle, He is our peace, who made both one; because whether we are Jew or Gentile, through Him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.


You who used to be far away have been brought near by the death of Christ, for he himself is the peace between us; he has made Jews and Gentiles into one people.

Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all – to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him, for he himself is the peace between us; he has made Jews and Gentiles into one people.

Te Deum

God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.

Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.

You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.

And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.

Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Let us pray.

All-powerful, ever-living God,
we thank you for the human birth of your Son,
which is the source and perfection of our Christian life and worship.
Number us among his people,
for the salvation of all mankind is found in him,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament in Honor of the Holy Family

Grant us, O Lord Jesus, 
faithfully to imitate the examples of Thy Holy Family, 
so that in the hour of our death, 
in the company of Thy glorious Virgin Mother and St. Joseph, 
we may deserve to be received by Thee into eternal tabernacles.


Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Mal 3:1-4, 23-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:

Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner's fire,
or like the fuller's lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-9, 10 And 14

R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.

R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.

R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.

R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Lk 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
"No. He will be called John."
But they answered her,
"There is no one among your relatives who has this name."
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name,"
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
"What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him."


December 30

St. Egwin (d. 717)

You say you’re not familiar with today’s saint? Chances are you aren’t—unless you’re especially informed about Benedictine bishops who established monasteries in medieval England.

Born of royal blood in the 7th century, Egwin entered a monastery and was enthusiastically received by royalty, clergy and the people as the bishop of Worcester, England. As a bishop he was known as a protector of orphans and the widowed and a fair judge.

His popularity didn’t hold up among members of the clergy, however. They saw him as overly strict, while he felt he was simply trying to correct abuses and impose appropriate disciplines. Bitter resentments arose, and Egwin made his way to Rome to present his case to Pope Constantine. The case against Egwin was examined and annulled.

Upon his return to England, he founded Evesham Abbey, which became one of the great Benedictine houses of medieval England. It was dedicated to Mary, who had reportedly made it known to Egwin just where a church should be built in her honor.

He died at the abbey on December 30, in the year 717. Following his burial many miracles were attributed to him: The blind could see, the deaf could hear, the sick were healed.