Going into a Catholic Church during Advent fills my soul with quiet wonderment as I gaze upon the Nativity Scene.
Kneeling before the manger, I recall a time when we would perform the nativity story for our parents and church congregation. It was a season of anticipation, of going from home to home, of festivities, food and baked goods, and different communities joined together in sharing in Christmas joy.
Our home was was opened to people from church. The first thing that would greet them is the smell of baked goods, and home made fruit cake which my dad gave out to families and friends. The joy of the season was also going to one another’s homes and carolling/singing Christmas songs. My favourite part of carolling would be the hot chocolate and treats our host prepared. The highlight of Christmas would be a candlelight service, where hymns were sung along with the Nativity play. All the kids would dress up and retell the story of the birth of Jesus. Always told with a bit of clumsiness and a tender heart.
The humble Holy family surrounded by shepherds and wisemen on a starlit night was a story retold year after year.
There is a rustic beauty as I gaze upon baby Jesus lying in white linen against the coarse backdrop of an old stable.
Watching this scene are sheep, donkeys, mule, cows – all in for the night. I imagine the barnyard smell of dry hay and animals. There is Mary and Joseph gazing with adoration upon this miracle from God – a baby is born into a world – our Savior. He is both Divine and human (now let’s try to wrap our heads around this), sent by the Father to redeem all mankind.
Let’s not let this beautiful story be untold in our world. Let this story not be forgotten, and let us share it even if it’s politically incorrect. This story tells of the birth of Jesus, born to a virgin who said, “Yes”, to God.
There are times when we need to talk to Jesus and ask for his help. It’s as simple as that, but in our brokenness, our pride gets in the way.
Or we have reached a point in our lives that we no longer believe in the good around us. Yeah, there are lots or reason why in our brokenness we don’t see. A veil of despair and disbelief covers our eyes and psychological mind-frame. There is hope!
Know that Jesus is the way!
A simple prayer for those in need:
“The Book of Psalms is a collection of cries, prayers and praise. The authors of each chapter experienced every struggle, heartache and fear imaginable. This collection of comforting verses will help guide you toward whole and complete healing.”
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” ~ Psalm 109:19-21
“LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” ~ Psalm 30:2
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The LORD will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.” ~ Psalms 34:17-22
“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” ~ Psalms 103:2-4
“Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.” ~ Psalms 6:2
“I said, “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you.” ~ Psalm 41:4
“Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” ~ Psalms 30:10-11
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~ Psalms 73:26
I pray Jesus will heal your pains and troubles with his healing embrace. God Bless 🙏💕
The road to heaven is narrow. The road to heaven is to love Jesus with all my heart, mind, body and spirit. This is proactively to have a sincere relationship with Jesus with all my heart, taking the time to know him, love him, and finally to follow him by doing – God’s will. Doing God’s will is not what I want, but what God wants for me.
Praying for God’s will in my life means picking up the cross of Jesus. For me this means stepping out of my comfort zone to trust and love Jesus, and, to love my neighbours. I am happy and content to exist in my little shell. It’s stress free and easy. Stepping out means I trust in Jesus to lead me along the rocky and narrow road towards heaven – and not hide in the four corners of my comfortable shell.
I am saved by grace, and this means for me to step out and love those around me. It can be a simple smile, a genuine greeting, a helping hand, and above all to love the unloveable.
Yes it’s hard to love our neighbours, and it is only through God’s grace and knowing that Jesus lives in my heart that I can do this. You can also!
Jesus, help me to enter through the narrow door. Guide and lead me to let go of the things in this world and focus just on the cross – to heed your words with a trusting and sincere heart – and to obey you🙏
I pray that each of you come to know Jesus, love him, and take up the cross to follow him. I pray for God’s blessings upon each of us to love our neighbours and ask for their salvation in our prayers, to sincerely love, greet, hugs, and give in good will.
May the light of the Cross in each of us radiate outwards.
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
The past year and a half, has seen me work towards a more balanced spiritual, mental, emotional and physical well-being. None of this would have been possible without a deeper intimacy with Jesus and his divine grace. After becoming depressed and isolated at home during the onset of the Covid Pandemic, my only solace was the Bible. I remember praying for God’s intervention and guidance for healing in my life – to help me find him again, and “to be a stronger me in my own existence”. As I reflect back, Jesus has always been there as he is for each of us. Jesus was simply waiting for me and each of us to invite him into our lives for a deeper relationship.
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Thank you Jesus for the grace to know you more intimately, love you more deeply, and to walk with you more closely.
In fact, through working with a Saint Ignatius Spiritual Director, Art Therapist, and physical exercise, I am now better equip spiritually, emotionally and physically to step back into the ring of life and be the person God meant me to be. That is of course not without the daily challenges that comes with living – but with Jesus in my heart and the foundations of the Catholic faith, I am a stronger me in my own existence.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Catholic Prayers For Soul Healing
O’ holy one
I have come before you today who needs your healing hand. Everything is possible in you.
Hold my heart within you, and renew my mind, body, and spirit.
I am lost, but I come to you with grace.
You gave us life, and you also give us the gift of eternal bliss.
Give me the strength to move forward on the path you have made for me.
Guide me towards better health, and give me the wisdom to identify the people you have around me to help me get better.
If you have bad memories, anguish, anxiety, or guilt, a “prayer for soul healing” will address those worries. It also focuses on forgiving the causes of your pain.
Catholic Prayers For Depression
Sometimes the thing we need most in order to heal — or even to think about healing — is some good, restful sleep. This prayer asks Jesus to help you sleep, to free the demons from your thoughts, and to have angels over you while you sleep.
Thank you for being with me through all the ups and downs of my life and the blessings you have given me, for which I admire and thank you.
You know the disease I’ve been battling for a long time and there’s little that can be done by the medical profession – but believe me, I’m awesome and wonderfully made and you know every part of it is my body. You know exactly why I’ve been sick for so long. I come to you now asking that you will do complete recovery work on my body – whatever is causing this persistent problem. I pray that you, by your mercy, give me the health and strength that I need.
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 15 August
Author: Bishop Paolo Magnani
Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: 15 August
Bishop Paolo Magnani Bishop emeritus of Treviso, Italy
So what does ‘Heaven’ really mean?
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the most joyful of our liturgical Solemnities. The Church on earth and the Church in Heaven join in the infinite glory of God, who welcomes and crowns his Mother. Today is the day of Mary’s birth in Heaven which celebrates the triumph of her soul and her body.
Let us look at her entire biography.
The Assumption is the theme of her constant ascension. Full of grace from the very moment of her conception on this earth, Mary Immaculate never ceased to grow in grace before God.
The Annunciation, Christmas, Calvary, the Passover of the Resurrection and Pentecost are the spiritual landmarks of her existence. In each one, her motherly and virginal love was enriched, aspiring to a summit that no other creature will ever be able to attain.
The mystery of Our Lady of the Assumption becomes evident if it is set within the connections that unite the Marian prerogatives to one another: she was taken up into Heaven because she was Immaculate; she was taken up into Heaven and was Immaculate because of her divine motherhood.
After the holy humanity of Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father in the sanctuary of divinity, there was nothing in the world more perfect than this motherly soul, shining with purity, beauty, tenderness and grace, reflected in her body.
Fully open to the splendours of the Word, her Son, Mary finally achieves the perfection of all the requirements of her sublime vocation.
In the First Reading of the Liturgy for this feast, we hear a passage from the Book of Revelation (11:19; 12:1-6) in which the Church has gathered various symbols, destined to express the theological and salvific meaning of the figure of Mary and her glorification.
It all takes place in a heavenly sphere: “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”.
A little later, it speaks of other signs in the heavens: a great red dragon and the stars of heaven swept down to earth; then, lastly, we hear “a loud voice in heaven”.
Heaven is the setting of an event rich in symbols. In Pius XIl’s Bull declaring the Dogma which defines the Assumption to be a truth of faith [Munificentissimus Deus], we read: “The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory” (n. 44). In the face of this Dogma it might be useful to ask oneself what the word “Heaven” means.
Meaning of ‘Heaven’
“Heaven” is a word that recurs in the revelation of the Old and New Testaments. It has a long popular tradition which indicates the solid vault that separates the world on high from the world below.
This is what the Israelites thought, and likewise, what many instinctively think today.
The term “Heaven” was used by revelation and applied to what lies beyond the visible sky, imagining that there is an invisible one where God’s throne stands, as in a palace. Hence, its metaphorical sense: indeed, the One who dwells in the heavens cannot be pinpointed in any one place, for not even the heavens could contain him. Therefore, Heaven as a place is part of a symbolic language which communicates to us the reality of the faith.
And thus, we speak of Heaven as the home of angels, the stage of God’s manifestation, the dwelling place of the glorious Christ, the dwelling place of Mary Most Holy, Our Lady of the Assumption. Consequently, it is a transcendent space, it is the presence of God and his glory, it is God’s Name, it is God himself.
To go to Heaven is to go to God and to live with God. According to the Gospel, we must lay up for ourselves a treasure in Heaven!
The Reading from the Book of Revelation for this feast opens with the grandiose scene in which the woman clothed with the sun comes to take up her residence. But who is this woman? What does she represent?
A preliminary answer leads us to the Old Testament, where the “People of God” is compared to a woman and Jerusalem is considered as a woman, Yahweh’s Bride, radiant with God’s light (cf. Is 60) and destined to form a holy and numerous people.
This woman of the Book of Revelation gives birth to a son, but in her painful experience of motherhood she must first engage in a battle of demonic origin against evil, against the enemy of God.
The woman will emerge victorious from this conflict. The newborn child is the Messiah, “one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rv 12:5). Her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the celestial woman, on the other hand, fled to the desert where God cared for her.
This Reading is complex and rich in evocative resonance; it reminds us of the wait for the Messiah, the sufferings and triumph of the messianic experience that unite Mother and Son. The woman of the Book of Revelation is the Sorrowful Mother, but also the victorious Queen, a title missing from the Litany of Loreto.
Mary comes first
When we start with this Woman-Mother of the People of God and of the Son-Messiah, we come to the Church, the new People of God with Mary.
Ever in the light of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us listen to St. Paul (Mass of the Day: I Cor 15:20-27), who speaks to us of the Resurrection of Christ and of our resurrection in him. We have reached the crowning event of the history of salvation, of the victory of the Man over sin, Satan and death: “Christ is risen from the dead”.
This is the sign of the Christian faith. With Baptism, Christians are incorporated into Christ and come to share in his Risen Life. Christ is the first fruits of all the dead who are destined to be raised. In this chain of risen people whom Christ brings with him to Heaven, Mary comes first, with Christ and for Christ.
If we want our Marian devotion to conform with God’s will, it must be as Christocentric as the entire spiritual biography of the Mother of Christ.
The Gospel for the Mass of the Assumption is offered to us by St. Luke (1:39-56), who has passed on what is called The Infancy Gospel.
The account of Mary’s visit to St. Elizabeth introduces us to the important Marian prayer of the Magnificat, the personalized comment of the One who henceforth plays the lead role in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. The Magnificat is a great canticle in which converge the spiritual sentiments of the poor, the humble, those who wait with trust for salvation from God.
On Mary’s lips these sentiments acquire fresh vigour, inexhaustible and unfathomable depth and a unique motivation. Having reached the fullness of the perfection that shines on her body and already illumined by the beatific vision, she, the undeserving little creature, sings the Magníficat before the Almighty and Merciful God.
Mary never forgets she is the handmaid of the Lord, just as she does not forget the gratuitous goodness of the love of God, who has turned his gaze upon her almost as a compendium of all his mercy poured out upon humanity.
For this reason, the daily prayer of the Magnificat closes the Christian day.
Mary taken up into Heaven, in her attitude of contemplation before the Most Holy Trinity, carries out the ministry of intercession on our behalf, ever in communion with Jesus Christ, the one Mediator and heavenly Priest.
And we, his children and his faithful, although we are sinners, commend ourselves full of trust to this Mother of ours, steeped in beatifying tenderness.
Let us ask her to purify us: to free us from every evil, starting with sin in its various forms. We are pilgrims on this earth, here below, where it is our vocation to journey on towards Heaven, now bound for experiencing God in the beauty of the creatures.
On the Solemnity of the Assumption, the Blessed Virgin Mary strengthens us through faith in the future resurrection; she attracts us with the sweetness of her love, so that one day we too may contemplate Jesus, the blessed fruit of her love.
We ask this of you: O clement, O merciful, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Taken from: L’Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English 8/15 August 2007, page 11
L’Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See. The Weekly Edition in English is published for the US by:
The Cathedral Foundation L’Osservatore Romano English Edition 320 Cathedral St. Baltimore, MD 21201
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us. God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us. Holy Mary, pray for us. Holy Mother of God, pray for us. Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us. Mother of Christ, pray for us. Mother of divine grace, pray for us. Mother most pure, pray for us. Mother most chaste, pray for us. Mother inviolate, pray for us. Mother undefiled, pray for us. Mother most amiable, pray for us. Mother most admirable, pray for us. Mother of good counsel, pray for us. Mother of our Creator, pray for us. Mother of our Savior, pray for us. Virgin most prudent, pray for us. Virgin most venerable, pray for us. Virgin most renowned, pray for us. Virgin most powerful, pray for us. Virgin most merciful, pray for us. Virgin most faithful, pray for us. Mirror of justice, pray for us. Seat of wisdom, pray for us. Cause of our joy, pray for us. Spiritual vessel, pray for us. Vessel of honor, pray for us. Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us. Mystical rose, pray for us. Tower of David, pray for us. Tower of ivory, pray for us. House of gold, pray for us. Ark of the Covenant, pray for us. Gate of Heaven, pray for us. Morning star, pray for us. Health of the sick, pray for us. Refuge of sinners, pray for us. Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us. Help of Christians, pray for us. Queen of angels, pray for us. Queen of patriarchs, pray for us. Queen of prophets, pray for us. Queen of apostles, pray for us. Queen of martyrs, pray for us. Queen of confessors, pray for us. Queen of virgins, pray for us. Queen of all saints, pray for us. Queen conceived without Original Sin, pray for us. Queen assumed into Heaven, pray for us. Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us. Queen of peace, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we Thy Servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy eternal happiness. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Let us celebrate and pray together today this special prayer and draw closer to Jesus through Mary’s intervention for us.
I give thanks for two beautiful children my husband and I adopted as babies. I give thanks to God the Father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit for the graces and blessings bestowed upon us.
Yesterday we celebrated MeiMei’s 16th birthday – how quickly the time has past.
Father of Jesus, We praise you and give you glory For the wonderful things you do for us; For life and health, for friends and family, for this splendid day.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.
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.
There’s a saying that the truth will set us free. When I think of all the controlled narratives in our secular world, of cancel culture, of hidden agendas cloaked in the name of Social Justice, how many of us see outside this? Seeing the truth of God sets us free from the chains of Satan’s machinations of lies.
Well, another old saying is “to divide and conquer.” Division or creating a wedge by making a group of people disagree and fight with one another is a sure way to ensure they will not join together against one. One of Satans greatest attributes is his ability to lie and cloak his lies in half truths.
The following video is a must watch by Peter Herbeck. He discusses God’s love for all of us – and uniting in walking away from our potentially dangerous life style. It is to recognize the social malaise and narratives that divide, and to know all are loved by God. God has no borders, and he simply calls us to him.
Love for Enemies (Luke 6:27-36)
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.