Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Cf. Prv 14:1-2

Behold a wise woman who has built her house.
She feared the Lord and walked the right path.


O God, who crowned with the gift of true faith
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton’s burning zeal to find you,
grant by her intercession and example
that we may always seek you with diligent love
and find you in daily service with sincere faith.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

1 JN 3:7-10

Children, let no one deceive you.
The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
Whoever sins belongs to the Devil,
because the Devil has sinned from the beginning.
Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.
No one who is begotten by God commits sin,
because God's seed remains in him;
he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.
In this way,
the children of God and the children of the Devil are made plain;
no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God,
nor anyone who does not love his brother.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 98:1, 7-8, 9

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy before the LORD.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

The LORD comes;
he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.

R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

HEB 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets:
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

JN 1:35-42

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
"Behold, the Lamb of God."
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,

"What are you looking for?"

They said to him,
"Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher),"where are you staying?"

He said to them,

"Come, and you will see."

So they went and saw where he was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
"We have found the Messiah," 
which is translated Christ.
Then he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said,

"You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas,"

which is translated Peter.

January 4

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 - 1821)

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the upper class of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible to contemporary novels.

In spite of her high society background, Elizabeth's early life was quiet, simple, and often lonely. As she grew a little older, the Bible was to become her continual instruction, support and comfort -
and she would continue to love the Scriptures for the rest of her life.

In 1794, Elizabeth married the wealthy young William Seton, with whom she was deeply in love. The first years of their marriage were happy and prosperous. Elizabeth wrote in her diary at first autumn, "My own home at twenty-the world-that and heaven too-quite impossible."

This time of Elizabeth's life was to be a brief moment of earthly happiness before the many deaths and partings she was to suffer. Within four years, William's father died, leaving the young couple in charge of William's seven half brothers and sisters, as well as the family's importing business.

Events moved quickly from there with devastating effect. Both William's business and health failed. He was finally forced to file a petition of bankruptcy and, in a final attempt to save William's health, 
the Setons sailed for Italy, where William had business friends.

Unfortunately, William died of tuberculosis while in Italy. 
Elizabeth's one consolation was that he had recently awakened to the things of God.

The many enforced separations from dear ones by death and distance served to draw Elizabeth's heart to God and eternity. The accepting and embracing of God's will - "The Will," as she called it - 
would be a keynote in her spiritual life.

Elizabeth's deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her into the Catholic Church.

In Italy, Elizabeth captivated everyone by her kindness, patience, good sense, wit, and courtesy. During this time Elizabeth became interested in the Catholic Faith and, over a period of months, 
her Italian friends guided her in Catholic instruction.

Elizabeth's desire for the Bread of Life was to be a strong force leading her to the Catholic Church.

Having lost her mother at an early age, 
Elizabeth felt great comfort in the idea that the Blessed Virgin was truly her mother. 
She asked the Blessed Virgin to guide her to the True Faith and officially joined the Catholic Church in 1805.

At the suggestion of the president of St. Mary's College in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth started a school in that city. The school had originally been secular but once news of her entrance to Catholicism spread, several girls were removed from her school. It was then Seton, and two other young women who helped her in her work, began plans for a Sisterhood. They established the first free Catholic school in America. When the young community adopted their rule, 
they made provisions for Elizabeth to continue raising her children.

On March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Seton pronounced her vows of poverty, chastity, 
and obedience, binding for one year. From that time she was called Mother Seton.

Although Mother Seton became afflicted with tuberculosis, she continued to guide her children. The Rule of the Sisterhood was formally ratified in 1812. It was based upon the Rule St. Vincent de Paul had written for his Daughters of Charity in France. By 1818, in addition to their first school, the sisters had established two orphanages and another school. Today, 
six groups of sisters can trace their origins to Mother Seton's initial foundation.

Seton's favorite prayer was the 23rd Psalm and she developed a deep devotion to the Eucharist, 
Sacred Scripture, and the Virgin Mary.

For the last three years of her life, Elizabeth felt that God was getting ready to call her, and this gave her great joy. Mother Seton died in 1821 at the age of 46, only sixteen years after becoming a Catholic. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963 
and was canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will proclaim Your Praise!

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 94 (95)

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

Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
let us acclaim him with songs.

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

For the Lord is a great God,
a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
and his hands formed the dry land.

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

Come, let us worship and bow down,
bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
the sheep that follow his hand.

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

If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
“Do not harden your hearts
as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
although they had seen my works.”

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

“For forty years they wearied me,
that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
they will never enter my place of rest.”

Christ has been born for us:
come, let us adore 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 adore 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.
O Lord, the Virgin-born, to Thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost forevermore.

Psalm 30 (31)
Trustful prayer in time of adversity

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

In you, Lord, I put my trust: may I never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free,
Turn your ear to me,
make haste to rescue me.
Be my rampart, my fortification;
keep me safe.
For you are my strength and my refuge:
you will lead me out to the pastures,
for your own name’s sake.
You will lead me out of the trap that they laid for me –
for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit:
you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
You hate those who run after vain nothings;
but I put my trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your kindness,
for you have looked on me, lowly as I am.
You saw when my soul was in need:
you did not leave me locked in the grip of the enemy,
but set my feet on free and open ground.

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.

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

Psalm 30 (31)

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.

Take pity on me, Lord, for I am troubled:
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
the very centre of my being is disturbed.
For my life is worn out with distress,
my years with groaning;
my strength becomes weakness,
my bones melt away.
I am a scandal and a disgrace,
so many are my enemies;
to my friends and neighbours,
I am a thing to fear.
When they see me in the street,
they run from me.
I have vanished from their minds as though I were dead,
or like a pot that is broken.
I know this – for I have heard the scolding of the crowd.
There is terror all around,
for when they come together against me
it is my life they are resolved to take.
But I put my trust in you, Lord;
I say: “You are my God,
my fate is in your hands.”
Tear me from the grip of my enemies,
from those who hound me;
let your face shine upon your servant,
in your kindness, save me.

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.

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.

Psalm 30 (31)

Blessed be the Lord,
who has shown me the wonders of his love.

How very many are the pleasures, Lord,
that you have stored up for those who fear you.
You have made these things ready for those who trust in you,
to give them in the sight of all men.
Far away from the plottings of men
you hide them in your secret place.
You keep them safe in your dwelling-place
far from lying tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has shown me his wonderful kindness
within the fortified city.
In my terror, I said
“I am cut off from your sight”;
but you heard the voice of my prayer
when I called to you.
Love the Lord, all his chosen ones.
The Lord keeps his faithful ones safe,
heaps rich revenge on the arrogant.
Be brave, let your hearts be strong,
all who trust in the Lord.

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.

Blessed be the Lord,
who has shown me the wonders of his love.

In him was life
– and that life was the light of man.

First Reading
Colossians 3:17-4:1

Never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness. 
Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord.
Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.

Slaves, be obedient to the men who are called your masters in this world; not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please men, but wholeheartedly, out of respect for the Master. Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you his heirs. It is Christ the Lord that you are serving; anyone who does wrong will be repaid in kind and he does not favour one person more than another. Masters,
make sure that your slaves are given what is just and fair, 
knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.


Whatever you do,
in word or deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Give thanks to the Father through him.
Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Second Reading
The Five Hundred Chapters
by St Maximus the Confessor

A mystery ever new

The Word of God, born once in the flesh (such is his kindness and his goodness), is always willing to be born spiritually in those who desire him. In them he is born as an infant as he fashions himself in them by means of their virtues. He reveals himself to the extent that he knows someone is capable of receiving him. He diminishes the revelation of his glory not out of selfishness but because he recognises the capacity and resources of those who desire to see him. Yet, in the transcendence of mystery,
he always remains invisible to all.

For this reason the apostle Paul, reflecting on the power of the mystery, said: Jesus Christ, yesterday and today: he remains the same for ever. For he understood the mystery as ever new, 
never growing old through our understanding of it.

Christ is God, for he had given all things their being out of nothing. Yet he is born as man by taking to himself our nature, flesh endowed with intelligent spirit. A star glitters by day in the East and leads the wise men to the place where the incarnate Word lies, to show that the Word, 
contained in the Law and the Prophets,
surpasses in a mystical way knowledge derived from the senses, 
and to lead the Gentiles to the full light of knowledge.

For surely the word of the Law and the Prophets when it is understood with faith is like a star which leads those who are called by the power of grace in accordance with his decree to recognise the Word incarnate.

Here is the reason why God became a perfect man, changing nothing of human nature, except to take away sin (which was never natural anyway). His flesh was set before that voracious, gaping dragon as bait to provoke him: flesh that would be deadly for the dragon, for it would utterly destroy him by the power of the Godhead hidden within it. For human nature, however,
his flesh was to be a remedy since the power of the Godhead in it would restore human nature to its original grace.

Just as the devil had poisoned the tree of knowledge and spoiled our nature by its taste, so too, in presuming to devour the Lord’s flesh he himself is corrupted and is completely destroyed by the power of the Godhead hidden in it.

The great mystery of the divine incarnation remains a mystery for ever. How can the Word made flesh be essentially the same person that is wholly with the Father? How can he who is by nature God become by nature wholly man without lacking either nature, neither the divine by which he is God nor the human by which he became man?

Faith alone grasps these mysteries.
Faith alone is truly the substance and foundation of all that exceeds knowledge and understanding.


The Word became flesh and lived among us,
full of grace and truth;
we have seen his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God;
we have seen his glory,
the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father.

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
the light of a new star in heaven heralded your saving love.
Let the light of your salvation dawn in our hearts
and keep them always open to your life-giving grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

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