Joy to the world

Christmas is a time of great joy, joy because we celebrate the entry of Christ  into the world as our Saviour. But in a real sense, everyday is Christmas because Christ is always with us. In this meditation we consider the importance of being always cheerful, of radiating our joy to others. We consider:

  • Texts of Scripture that speak to us of the joy surrounding the birth of Christ
  • How Mary brought joy to Elizabeth and John the Baptist in her womb
  • How we find our joy “in the Lord”, as St Paul writes
  • Texts of St Josemaria, St John Chrysostom, Pope Francis and Rose Kennedy that speak of joy
  • How we can be cheerful even when we are in a bad mood, or are experiencing difficulties
  • How important it is to radiate joy to those around us

Putting Christ back in Christmas

Nativity scene icon

For more and more people, Christmas is about giving gifts, bringing the family together, having parties and going on holidays. But it is not about the birth of Christ. In this meditation we pray about how we can put Christ in the centre of our life and grow in friendship with him. We consider:

  • Who Christ really is
  • Why he became flesh
  • How he came to be born in Bethlehem
  • What we learn from his birth in a stable
  • How we can grow in love for him through prayer, the Mass, reading the Scriptures, the sacraments, penance and service to others

Prayer for the souls in Purgatory

Some 150,000 people die each day and it is likely that most of them go to purgatory, where they are purified before entering heaven. They suffer greatly at the same time as they are very happy, since they are assured of heaven. We can help them by our prayers and good works. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and St Thomas More to consider how:

  • the soul must be completely purified before it can enter heaven
  • the souls in purgatory suffer the pain of being deprived of the sight of God and of fire
  • most of the souls in purgatory probably have no one to pray for them
  • we can help them by offering our Masses, prayers, good works and indulgences for them
  • if we have devotion to the holy souls, they will pray for us and perhaps we can avoid going to purgatory ourselves

Save us from the fires of hell

 

In this meditation we continue our journey through the Last Things,  praying today about hell. Hell is a reality and if we pray about it from time to time we are most unlikely to end up there. But God needs us to help others avoid hell too. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of saints like St John Vianney to consider:

  • Christ’s teaching on hell
  • God’s mercy and desire to save all souls
  • That those who go to hell choose it by failing to repent of their serious sins
  • The vision of hell seen by the three children at Fatima
  •  How we can avoid hell and help others to do so

Preparing for the judgment

In the moment of our death we will undergo a particular judgment which will decide whether we go to hell, purgatory or immediately to heaven. The judge will be Jesus himself, the Son of Man and his judgment will be just as well as merciful. In this meditation we consider how:

  • we should not care about how others judge us
  • pride colours our judgment about ourselves
  • in the particular judgment we will be judged on how we made use of the many gifts God has given us
  • we can prepare for the judgment by being very sincere in our prayer, our daily examination of conscience and in spiritual direction

Love for the priesthood

Icon of Christ the eternal high priest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can sometimes take our priests for granted, or even complain about them. In this meditation we look at what our priests do for us and how we can help them. We consider:

  • Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, instituted the priesthood to continue his priestly ministry down the ages
  • Priests do so much for us: celebrating the sacrifice of the Mass in order to offer this pure sacrifice to the Father, to leave Christ in the tabernacle and give him to us in holy Communion; forgiving our sins, anointing us when we are in danger of death, teaching us the faith…
  • St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, has beautiful things to say about the priesthood
  • St John Paul II wrote wonderfully about what people expect from priests
  • We should give thanks for our priests and pray for them so that they will be holy and faithful
  • We should pray too for seminarians, for young men considering a priestly vocation and for families, the seedbed of vocations

The power of the rosary

Our Lady of the Rosary

Our Lady asked the children at Fatima in 1917 to pray the rosary each day. We would all do well to heed that request, if only because it pleases our Mother. But we benefit too from praying the rosary, which is a very powerful prayer. In this meditation we consider how:

  • The rosary arose out of popular piety.
  • Our Lady urged us to pray the rosary at Lourdes and Fatima.
  • Many Popes and saints have recommended the rosary.
  • The rosary is a powerful prayer which contributed to the conversion of heretics by St Dominic,  victory in the battle of Lepanto, the collapse of communist regimes in the 20th century and the conversion of sinners.