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To: All
Doctors of the Catholic Church

Saint John Damascene is the Icon and Image Doctor. He is most famous as one who defended and favored the veneration of sacred images, holy pictures, statues and icons. His writings in the Eastern Church are what the Summa of St Thomas Aquinas are to the West.

John guarded the Church's faith and traditions zealously. His dedicated life of prayer afforded him to put his literary and preaching talents at the service of God. He was a recipent of many miracles. Praying changed everything into beauty for him.

St Damascene spent all his life under Moslem rule and, like all the doctors, had an extraordinary devotion to the Mother of God. It was reported that John received a total healing from a wound inflicted on him through the intercession of St. Mary.

The Pope, in defining the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called St. John Damascene “the interpreter of this tradition par excellence”. He quoted St. John below. This is taken from Father Renger’s book. (noted elsewhere)

There was need of her who in childbirth had preserved intact, be preserved incorrupt after death. There was need that she who had carried her Creator as a babe on her bosom, would linger lovingly in the dwelling of her God. There was need that the bride whom the Father had betrothed to Himself should live in the bridal chamber in heaven, that she who had looked so closely upon her own Son on the Cross, and who there felt in her heart the sword-pangs of sorrow which in bearing Him she had been spared, should look upon Him seated with His Father. There was need that God’s Mother should enter into her Son’s possessions, and as a Mother of God and handmaid, be reverenced by all creation. (Par. 21).

St John Damascene 676-749. The Icon or Image Doctor, Feast Dec 4th.

37 posted on 12/04/2011 5:01:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

 “Comfort, give comfort to my people.” (Isaiah 40:1)

The people of Israel were in cri­sis. Their Temple in Jerusalem had been burned to the ground. Their king had been taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And most of the population had been forced out of their homes and sent into exile. Everything they treasured about their role as God’s holy peo­ple was taken away from them, and it left them traumatized, distressed, and despairing.

Into this sad situation, God told his prophet to speak words of com­fort and tenderness to his people. Don’t be afraid! The Lord is coming! He’s going to gather you all together, as a shepherd gathers his sheep, and bring you back home. So get ready to welcome him and his deliverance.

Like the Israelites, we all need comfort from God. None of us is free from the sadness that can come from life in this world. It could be the pain of an illness, the wound from a bro­ken relationship, or the challenge of unemployment or financial stress.

No matter what we are facing, God wants to comfort us. He wants to speak tenderly to our hearts and tell us that he is with us. And more than anything else, he wants to tell us that Jesus, who is “God with us,” has opened heaven for us. We don’t have to endure our challenges on our own. We don’t have to go through this life doing nothing but trying our best and hoping for bet­ter days. We have access to the grace and comfort, the power and wis­dom, of God himself!

So no matter how difficult or de­manding life may seem, let these truths bring you comfort. Remember that nothing prevented Jesus from coming two thousand years ago and that nothing will prevent him from coming again to bring heaven down to earth. And finally, remember that even as we wait for that time, noth­ing can prevent Jesus from coming into our hearts right now and com­forting us with his love.

“Lord, I need your comfort. Fill me with your joy and peace. Teach me how to open my heart to you. Jesus, I love you!”

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11; Psalm 85:9-14; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8)

1. In the beginning of the first reading, we hear these words, “Comfort. Comfort my people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). In what ways do these words reflect the Lord’s great love and mercy toward Israel? How was this “comfort,” which was foretold by John the Baptist, fulfilled in Jesus Christ? What is the “comfort” God is offering his people and each of us during this grace-filled Advent season?

2. What do these words from the responsorial psalm mean (or symbolize) in light of the coming of Christ? “Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and truth shall kiss” (Psalm 85:11). Many papal teaching have been focused on charity and justice as the way to “peace.” As we reflect on the coming of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, during this Advent Season, what specifically can you do to help restore justice and peace within your family, or among family members — for example, in any relationships that have gone sour?

3. The second reading exhorts us to live holy lives with these words, “What sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11-12). Why do you think the author believed living holy lives would cause a hastening of the coming of Christ? What small steps or religious practices can you adopt this Advent in order to live “lives of holiness and godliness”?

4. The Gospel reading speaks of preparing the way of the Lord. What can you do this Advent/Christmas season to help your family, your friends, or your co-workers receive Christ, or deepen their relationship with him?

5. In the Gospel, St. John the Baptist also proclaims the need for repentance and forgiveness of sins. Make a commitment to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Advent/Christmas season. What are some ways that you and your family can prepare for it, so that you and they will experience more deeply the Lord’s forgiveness of sins?

6. In today’s meditation, we hear these words: “None of us is free from the sadness that can come from life in this world. It could be the pain of an illness, the wound from a broken relationship, or the challenge of unemployment or financial stress.” In spite of these pains, wounds, and challenges, the meditation goes on to say that “No matter what we are facing, God wants to comfort us.” How can you open yourself in a greater way to God’s comfort?

7. Take some time now to pray that this Advent would be a special time of grace for you and your family - a time to experience the Lord’s, comfort, joy, and peace. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.

38 posted on 12/04/2011 5:02:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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