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The Cross at Christmas

Discussion in 'Coffee House' started by padraig, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I can't believe Christmas is creeping up on us so quickly this year. Only one more Tuesday to go!! I was thinking how empty handed this year I feel in terms of Spiritual Preparation. Usually I take an Advent book of meditations to see me through (as I do in Lent) but this year I never seemed to have gotten round to anything much. Two things I have been trying to do is to listen a lot more closely to the Readings at mass, which are wonderful . One thing that hit me this year is the huge hunger of the people of God for the coming Messiah as they waited down the long centuries for the coming of the Lord. . We have to mirror that hunger in our hearts for the coming Lord. A cave in our hearts to shelter the coming Child Jesus.

    Isaiah 11:6

    The Root of Jesse
    …5Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. 6And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. 7Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.…

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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  2. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Another way I have been trying to preparing place for the Baby Jesus in my heart is by listening to a group of religious up and commers called, 'The Piano Guys'

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Piano_Guys

    But something one of them said at the end of a video caught my attention. He asked what the aim of life was and answered it by saying it was , 'To be happy'.

    I thought about this and it is very far from the Christian truth. For if you look at the Advent story Mary and Joseph were the very last ones to be happy , though the birth of the Child Jesus brought very considerable happiness to others. They were forced by degree to make a long, uncomfortable journey to Bethlehem whilst Mary was heavily pregnant. They could not find a place in an inn for Mary to give birth. The child was born in a stable were they kept the animals. Mary was told that at a sword would pierce her heart and they were forced to become refugees fleeing to Egypt. Hardly a recipe for happiness.

    We on the other hand looking in can garner considerable happiness and see its romance. We are the recipients of other peoples sufferings. We pick the fruit of the trees that other people have planted.

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  3. Seagrace

    Seagrace Angels

    Padraig, thank you for sharing that stunning insight. It answered a question I have been asking this Advent.
     
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  4. padraig

    padraig New Member

    http://www.sanpadrepio.com/PadrePioChristmas.htm

    Padre Pio's Christmas Meditation

    Appearing in volume four of the Italian-language edition of Padre Pio's letters, this essay was taken from Padre Pio's hand-written notebooks.

    Translated by Frank M. Rega, December 2005.

    "Padre Pio da Pietrelcina: Epistolario IV," Edizioni Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo, 2002, pages 1007-1009.


    Far into the night, at the coldest time of the year, in a chilly grotto, more suitable for a flock of beasts than for humans, the promised Messiah – Jesus – the savior of mankind, comes into the world in the fullness of time.
    There are none who clamor around him: only an ox and an ass lending their warmth to the newborn infant; with a humble woman, and a poor and tired man, in adoration beside him.


    Nothing can be heard except the sobs and whimpers of the infant God. And by means of his crying and weeping he offers to the Divine justice the first ransom for our redemption.

    He had been expected for forty centuries; with longing sighs the ancient Fathers had implored his arrival. The sacred scriptures clearly prophesy the time and the place of his birth, and yet the world is silent and no one seems aware of the great event. Only some shepherds, who had been busy watching over their sheep in the meadows, come to visit him. Heavenly visitors had alerted them to the wondrous event, inviting them to approach his cave.

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    So plentiful, O Christians, are the lessons that shine forth from the grotto of Bethlehem! Oh how our hearts should be on fire with love for the one who with such tenderness was made flesh for our sakes! Oh how we should burn with desire to lead the whole world to this lowly cave, refuge of the King of kings, greater than any worldly palace, because it is the throne and dwelling place of God! Let us ask this Divine child to clothe us with humility, because only by means of this virtue can we taste the fullness of this mystery of Divine tenderness.

    Glittering were the palaces of the proud Hebrews. Yet, the light of the world did not appear in one of them. Ostentatious with worldly grandeur, swimming in gold and in delights, were the great ones of the Hebrew nation; filled with vain knowledge and pride were the priests of the sanctuary. In opposition to the true meaning of Divine revelation, they awaited an officious savoir, who would come into the world with human renown and power.

    But God, always ready to confound the wisdom of the world, shatters their plans. Contrary to the expectations of those lacking in Divine wisdom, he appears among us in the greatest abjection, renouncing even birth in St. Joseph’s humble home, denying himself a modest abode among relatives and friends in a city of Palestine. Refused lodging among men, he seeks refuge and comfort among mere animals, choosing their habitation as the place of his birth, allowing their breath to give warmth to his tender body. He permits simple and rustic shepherds to be the first to pay their respects to him, after he himself informed them, by means of his angels, of the wonderful mystery.

    Oh wisdom and power of God, we are constrained to exclaim – enraptured along with your Apostle – how incomprehensible are your judgments and unsearchable your ways! Poverty, humility, abjection, contempt, all surround the Word made flesh. But we, out of the darkness that envelops the incarnate Word, understand one thing, hear one voice, perceive one sublime truth: you have done everything out of love, you invite us to nothing else but love, speak of nothing except love, give us naught except proofs of love.

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    The heavenly babe suffers and cries in the crib so that for us suffering would be sweet, meritorious and accepted. He deprives himself of everything, in order that we may learn from him the renunciation of worldly goods and comforts. He is satisfied with humble and poor adorers, to encourage us to love poverty, and to prefer the company of the little and simple rather than the great ones of the world.

    This celestial child, all meekness and sweetness, wishes to impress in our hearts by his example these sublime virtues, so that from a world that is torn and devastated an era of peace and love may spring forth. Even from the moment of his birth he reveals to us our mission, which is to scorn that which the world loves and seeks.

    Oh let us prostrate ourselves before the manger, and along with the great St. Jerome, who was enflamed with the love of the infant Jesus, let us offer him all our hearts without reserve. Let us promise to follow the precepts which come to us from the grotto of Bethlehem, which teach us that everything here below is vanity of vanities, nothing but vanity.
     
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  5. Seagrace

    Seagrace Angels

    Padre Pio's Christmas Meditation

    Oh Padraig, a load of hugs from here for you. I have been hunting for the right Advent meditation, seen many but none touched me. Padre Pio is my favourite saint. I am going to print out that meditation. If you have more from him, I hope you will consider a separate thread on it. Again, thank you! :):):)
     
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  6. Carol55

    Carol55 Powers

    Thank you for posting this, the reason for the season! Thank you for this site and for the support you provide to all of us. God bless you always.
    Merry Christmas!!!
     
    padraig likes this.
  7. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think sometimes at Christmas the scenes we are shown , they kill the Cross. We see a smiling mother and baby , smiling shepherds, St Joe , shepherds and Wise men. But I suppose as any woman could tell you there is no baby without huge pain. On that night they could find no where to stay, they were refused entry and only on the third request they got a place were the animals slept. They were poor friendless, far from home. When they took the child to the Temple Mary was told a Sword would go through her heart and an angel warned St Joe they had to flee , that bad old Herod was after them. Then to top it all over Herod's men went in and murdered all the infants in the village.

    Pain on top of pain on top of huge pain.

    Great joy too burbling underneath like a wonderful stream. But the joy was for others ; the Holy Family bore the pain so we might be joyful . Heaven too rejoiced , but here below there were lots of tears. When we face our own Cross we should remember this. There was a a lot of joy at Christmas. But a lot of pain too for the ones who brought this joy to others.

    Don't let the glitz carry you away too much.:)


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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
    Carol55 likes this.
  8. padraig

    padraig New Member

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    We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,

    Or cosy in a crib beside the font,

    But he is with a million displaced people

    On the long road of weariness and want.

    For even as we sing our final carol

    His family is up and on that road,

    Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,

    Glancing behind and shouldering their load.

    Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower

    Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,

    The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,

    And death squads spread their curse across the world.

    But every Herod dies, and comes alone

    To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.

    https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/refugee/

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  9. Seagrace

    Seagrace Angels

    Padraig, you've written about the Christmas that is rising in my heart. An Advent/Christmas so removed from happiness and jollity. I've prayed so very hard for the King to be born in my heart and have waited for this great burst of joy, but what I am feeling is the total opposite. I thought I had done something wrong. But now, reading you, I'm beginning to think differently.

    I think this is willed, a form of emptying. I am being emptied, perhaps so others may be filled.

    I think you should write us some Christmas meditations, Padraig. Give it a thought?
     
    sterph likes this.
  10. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I hope I am doing this , Seagrace, I am glad you are enjoying these. I think that there is a natural human tendency to equate our 'success' in the prayer/spiritual life with how we are emotionally responding, the , 'feel good factor', if you will. I am not knocking our Protestant sisters and brothers in this but since I think Protestantism is often lacking in the mystical dimension (of personal striving for holiness) they often I think the miss the deep, deep inner joy of simply hanging on the Cross.

    St Terese of Liseaux writes of this so well. She went into the darkness I would say pretty well the whole time since she entered Carmel and describes it so well, right up to the time of her death. So deep, so absolute was this darkness that she has been described in places as the patron saint of the agnostic/ atheist. At one point she so beautifully describes this as being like a child toy. God can from time to time pick her up to hug her and play with her and at others throw her in a corner and leave her there, alone in the dark. She talks of this being , 'thrown away' here:


    “The rose in its splendor can adorn your feast
    Loveable Child,
    But the unpetalled rose is just flung out
    To blow away.
    An unpetalled rose gives itself unaffectedly
    To be no more.
    Like it, with joy I abandon myself to you,
    Little Jesus.
    One walks on rose petals with no regrets,
    And this debris
    Is a simple ornament that one disposes of artlessly,
    That I’ve understood.
    Jesus, for your love I have squandered my life,
    My future.
    In the eyes of men, a rose forever withered,
    I must die!…”


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  11. padraig

    padraig New Member

    A candle burns brightest in the dark

     
    Joe Crozier 2 likes this.
  12. Seagrace

    Seagrace Angels

    ....with joy I abandon myself to you....

    So many saints talk about this JOY, but I cannot imagine this joy. Always wondered how does one actually feel. All song and skip? Somehow, I think not. It's goes deeper than that.
     
  13. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Its difficult sometimes to write of the Mystical realities without being misunderstood in a human sense. A good for instance are the Joyful Mysteries and in this instance the Third Joyful Mystery, The Nativity.

    In talking of peace Jesus says:

    John 14:27

    Peace I Leave with You
    26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. 27Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. 28You heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.…


    Now Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, so if we substitute the word, 'Peace ', in this passage and place the word, 'Joy', what do we get?

    Joy I Leave with You
    26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. 27Joy I leave with you; My joy I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid. 28You heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.…



    ..and so we see this joy that is left to us is something special and apart , a joy the world cannot either know or understand for as St Paul tells us..


    1 Corinthians 1:25

    The Message of the Cross
    24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. 26Brothers, consider the time of your calling: Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful; not many were of noble birth.…

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  14. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Of the track , here's a nice Christmassy movie I found:)

     
  15. Looking at the Child Jesus on the anniversary of his birth I think "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" but then I think the order of His priesthood is greater than that of Melchizedek. His priesthood is of the order of God. God made man.
     
  16. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I used to think of the four types of the Rosary as being apart. So that the Joyful Mysteries were all about Joy, the Sorrowful all about Sorrow and so on..but this is not so. Each of the Joyful Mysteries are tinged with Sorrow, with Glory and with Light ; so too for instance the Sorrowful mysteries are tinged with Joy, Glory and Light .

    Look at the Nativity for a moment and see these different lights. Mary holds the Boy Jesus in her arms the source of the Greatest Joy the Messiah had come into the World. Look beyond this and see the child she hold one day in her arms as a baby she will one day hold in her arms dead, tortured and crucified and feel the Sorrow. See beyond that once again and see the Glory of the Risen Lord and hear and see the Glory of the Angel Hosts who greet His Coming. See beyond that again and See the Light. Look upwards and see the Luminescense of the Christmas Star drawing the Magi and the Shepherds to the Stable, the Christ who will draw all men to Himself, witness His Epihany.

    So we can see the Mysteries as entertwined rather as if they held hands and danced together.

     
  17. Mac

    Mac "To Jesus, through Mary"

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    A beautiful picture above.Do you think Padre Pio would do this with the infant Joe?...


    ...
    upload_2016-12-15_20-9-5.jpeg
     
  18. Oh Mac please don't do that.
     
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  19. Elisa

    Elisa Archangels

    Padraig, do you have any idea why there are so many miracles happening at the Protestant side ? You can hear of all those healings and miracles in the many and many Sir Roth video's.
    For example this one:

    and this one:

    and this one:

    It does not stop, those miracles.... I mean, do only the Protestants have faith ? What do you and others think please regarding this ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  20. Elisa

    Elisa Archangels

    And then look at this: all the information that man receives from God regarding the evil influence on people:
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016

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