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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 12-02-12, First Sunday of Advent
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 12-02-12 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/01/2012 9:34:38 PM PST by Salvation

December 2, 2012

 

First Sunday of Advent

 

Reading 1 Jer 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
"The LORD our justice."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Reading 2 1 Thes 3:12-4:2

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Gospel Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man."


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: advent; catholic; prayer
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 12/01/2012 9:34:52 PM PST by Salvation
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2 posted on 12/01/2012 9:38:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


3 posted on 12/01/2012 9:48:27 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Grounds for hope


[14] “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. [15] In those days and at
that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall
execute justice and righteousness in the land. [16] In those days Judah will be
saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will
be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

33:14-26. These verses, which are not in the Septuagint and which may be a la-
ter addition, are a collection of messianic announcements based on the unchan-
ging nature of the Lord’s promise. He will keep the Davidic dynasty in being
through a descendant of David (vv. 15-16; cf. 23:5-6; 2 Sam 7:12-16) and will en-
sure that there are always Levites to perform the functions of priests (vv. 17-18).
This pact will be as fixed as the laws that govern the universe (vv. 19-26: cf. 33:
2). The “two families” (v. 24) refer to Israel (Jacob) and Judah (David).

The New Testament shows that all the promises in the “Book of Consolation”
find fulfillment in Jesus Christ, son of David (cf. Mt 1:1), the eternal high priest of
the New Covenant (cf. Heb 8:1-13). “God is ever faithful, and he has placed him-
self in our debt, not because he has received anything from us, but through all
the promises he has made to us. In his own eyes, the promises seem to be of
little value; he has put them in writing, a compendium of promises, so that we
will be able to read them, one after another, as they come to pass. As has been
said many times before, the prophetic era is made up of the days in which the
Lord made his promises” (St Augustine, “Enarrationes in Psalmos”, 109, 1).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 12/01/2012 9:52:22 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

He (Paul) Prays for the Thessalonians


[12] And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another
and to all men, as we do to you, [13] so that he may establish your hearts un-
blamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord
Jesus with all his saints.

He Calls for Holiness and Purity


[1] Finally, brethren, we beseech and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you
learned from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing,
you do so more and more. [2] For you know what instructions we gave you
through the Lord Jesus.

********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

12-13. Love is a supernatural virtue which inclines us to love God (for his own
sake) above all things, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. Given
that charity is a virtue which God infuses into the soul, it is something we must
not only practice but also ask God to increase in us.

Supernatural love, or charity, embraces everyone without exception. “Loving one
person and showing indifference to others”, St John Chrysostom observes, “is
characteristic of purely human affection; but St Paul is telling us that our love
should not be restricted in any way” (”Hom. on 1 Thess, ad loc.”). When a per-
son practices this virtue in an uninhibited way, his holiness gains in strength:
he becomes irreproachable “before our Lord and Father”; “in this does the true
merit of virtue really consist—and not in simply being blameless before men [...].
Yes, I shall say it again: it is charity, it is love, which makes us blameless”
(”ibid.”).

“With all his saints”: referring to believers who died in the grace of God.

1. St Paul encourages the Thessalonians “in the Lord Jesus” to follow his ad-
vice: he does not make this plea in his own name or using his personal influence
but in the name of the Lord Jesus. Those who have positions of authority in the
Church should be obeyed, above all, for supernatural reasons (that is what God
desires) and not for any personal qualities they happen to have or simply be-
cause they are “superiors”. It is this outlook which causes St Ignatius Loyola to
say that “laying aside all private judgment, we ought to keep our minds prepared
and ready to obey in all things the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, which is our
Holy Mother, the hierarchical Church” (”Spiritual Exercises”, 353).

The Thessalonians already knew the commandments, but knowing them is not
enough; they must be put into practice. St John Chrysostom comments: “Good
land does something more than give back the grain put into it; and therefore the
soul should not limit itself to doing what is laid down, but should go further [...].
Two things make for virtue—avoiding evil and doing good. Fleeing from evil is not
the be-all of virtue; it is the beginning of the path that leads to virtue. One needs,
in addition, to have an ardent desire to be good and to do good” (”Hom. on 1
Thess, ad loc.”).

********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 12/01/2012 9:53:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Luke 21:25-28; 34-36

Discourse on the Destruction of Jerusalem
and the End of the World (Continuation)


(Jesus said to his disciples), [25] “And there will be signs in sun and moon and
stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the
sea and the waves, [26] men fainting with fear and foreboding of what is coming
on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. [27] And then they
will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] Now
when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because
your redemption is drawing near.”

The Need for Vigilance


[34] “But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissi-
pation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you sud-
denly like a snare; [35] for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the
whole earth. [36] But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to
escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

25-26. Jesus refers to the dramatic changes in natural elements when the world
is coming to an end. “The powers of the heavens will be shaken”; that is to say,
the whole universe will tremble at the Lord’s coming in power and glory.

27-28. Applying to himself the prophecy of Daniel (7:13-14), our Lord speaks of
his coming in glory at the end of time. Mankind will see the power and glory of
the Son of man, coming to judge the living and the dead. Christ will deliver this
judgment in his human capacity. Sacred Scripture describes the solemnity of
this event, when the sentence passed on each person in the particular judgment
will be confirmed, and God’s justice and mercy to men throughout history will
shine out for all to see. “It was necessary not only that rewards should await the
just and punishments the wicked, in the life to come, but that they should be a-
warded by a public and general judgment. Thus they will become better known
and will be rendered more conspicuous to all, and a tribute of praise will be of-
fered by all to the justice and providence of God” (”St Pius V Catechism”, I, 8,
4).

This coming of the Lord is, then, a day of terror for evildoers and of joy for those
who have remained faithful. The disciples should hold their heads high because
their redemption is at hand. It is the day they will receive their reward. The vic-
tory won by Christ on the cross—victory over sin, over the devil and over death —
will now be seen clearly, with all its implications. Therefore St Paul recommends
that we be “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great
God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

“He [Christ] ascended into heaven whence he will come again to judge the li-
ving and the dead, each according to his merits. Those who have responded to
the love and compassion of God will go into eternal life. Those who have refused
them to the end will be consigned to the fire that is never extinguished” (Paul VI,
“Creed of the People of God”, 12).

34-36. At the end of His discourse Jesus emphasizes that every Christian needs
to be vigilant: we do not know the day nor the hour in which He will ask us to ren-
der an account of our lives. Therefore, we must at all times be trying to do God’s
will, so that death, whenever it comes, will find us ready. For those who act in
this way, sudden death never takes them by surprise. As St. Paul recommends:
“You are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief” (1
Thessalonians 5:4). Vigilance consists in making a constant effort not to be at-
tached to the things of this world (the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupi-
scence of the eyes and pride of life: cf. John 2:16) and in being assiduous in pra-
yer, which keeps us close to God. If we live in this way, the day we die will be a
day of joy and not of terror, for with God’s help our vigilance will mean that our
souls are ready to receive the visit of our Lord; they are in the state of grace: in
meeting Christ we will not be meeting a judge who will find us guilty; instead He
will embrace us and lead us into the house of His Father to remain there forever.
“Does your soul not burn with the desire to make your Father-God happy when
He has to judge you?” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 746).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


6 posted on 12/01/2012 9:54:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass


First reading Jeremiah 33:14-16 ©
See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:
‘In those days and at that time,
I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David,
who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.
In those days Judah shall be saved
and Israel shall dwell in confidence.
And this is the name the city will be called:
The-Lord-our-integrity.’

Psalm Psalm 24:4-5,8-9,10,14 ©
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Lord, make me know your ways.
  Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
  for you are God my saviour.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
The Lord is good and upright.
  He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
  He teaches his way to the poor.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
His ways are faithfulness and love
  for those who keep his covenant and law.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
  to them he reveals his covenant.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

Second reading 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2 ©
May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
  Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.

Gospel Acclamation Ps84:8
Alleluia, alleluia!
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.
Alleluia!

Gospel Luke 21:25-28,34-36 ©
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
  ‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’

7 posted on 12/01/2012 9:59:22 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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On the Splendor of God's Truth
On the Knowledge of God
Archbishop Chaput says Year of Faith holds solution to relativism
Following the Truth: The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know [Catholic Caucus]
Papal Encyclical on Faith Announced

On the Desire for God
On the Ecclesial Nature of Faith
On the Nature of Faith
Catechism's benefits explained for Year of Faith (Catholic Caucus)
A Life of Faith: Papal Theologian Speaks on the Grace of Faith
ASIA/LAOS - "Year of Faith" amid the persecutions of Christians forced to become "animists"
From no faith to a mountain-top of meaning: Father John Nepil (Catholic Caucus)
Living the Year of Faith: How Pope Benedict Wants You to Begin [Catholic Caucus]
Share Your Faith in This Year of Faith: Two keys to help you do it.
On A New Series of Audiences for The Year of Faith

Pope will deliver year-long teaching series on restoring faith
Pope Benedict XVI Grants Plenary Indulgence to Faithful [Catholic Caucus]
Pope, at Marian shrine, entrusts Year of Faith, synod to Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Church Calls for Public Prayers in Offices on Fridays
Highlights in the Plan for Year of Faith: Traditional Events Will Take on Special Perspective
Catholic Church calls for public prayers in offices on Fridays
Vatican Unveils Logo for Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Miami Prelate Recalls Pope's Visit to Cuba, Looks to Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
The World-Changing Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican to Issue Recommendations for Celebrating Year of Faith

8 posted on 12/01/2012 10:03:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Advent: Jesus is Coming!
Why Do Catholics Celebrate Advent? The Call to Begin Again (Ecumenical Caucus)
Resources for Liturgy and Prayer for the Seasons of Advent and Christmas [Catholic Caucus]
New prayers for Advent season [Catholic Caucus[ (Read and Rejoice!)
Father Cantalamessa's 3rd Advent Homily, "The Christian Response to Rationalism"

Father Cantalamessa's 2nd Advent Sermon, "The Christian Response to Secularism"
Evangelization Needs Belief in Eternity, Says Preacher, Father Cantalamessa Gives Advent Sermon to Pope and Curia
Father Corapi: How Do We Prepare Well for the Coming of the Lord
Father Cantalamessa's 1st Advent Sermon: "The Christian Answer to Atheist Scientism"
A Simple Way to Pray around the Advent Wreath: Prayers for Every Day During Advent
Advent 2010 -- Day by Day
History, Customs and Folklore of Advent [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Ready or Not: Here Advent Comes
The Journey To Bethlehem is Not Comfortable! (Last week of Advent)
Humble Praise and Joyful Anticipation: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Celebrating Advent in a Culture of Fear
Grave of the Craving (Do We Embrace our Dependence on God during Advent?)
Advent -- A Season of Hope
A New Holiday Tradition -- Construct a Jesse Tree with your family during Advent
Pope on Advent: With Jesus, there is no life without meaning
Advent: Awaiting God's Justice -- Pope Benedict XVI
St. Andrew: Lighting the way for Advent
Advent Reflections for 2008
Bringing our fallen-away relations back to Church during Advent
History and Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

Rediscovering Advent in the (St.) Nick of Time
Catholic Traditions for Advent and Christmas
Mary's Gift of Self Points the Way, "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 1 of 4
The Perfect Faith of the Blessed Virgin "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 2 of 4
Theotokos sums up all that Mary is: "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 3 of 4
Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent
Renewing the Mystery of Advent, Part Two: The Witness of John the Baptist
Why “Gaudete?”, Part Three (Third Sunday of Advent)
Sunday before Nativity
Holy Mary and the Death of Sin - "The Blessed Mother and Advent", Part 4 of 4

Catholic Liturgy - Rose-Colored Vestments on Gaudete Sunday
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Advent 2007 -- Day by Day
Making Advent a Reality (the seasons are out of whack)
The Advent Workshop -- lots of information and activities
Jesse Trees (genealogy of Jesus activity for families)
Advent Wreath & Candles (Prayers for the Family)
Advent Overview
Reclaiming the Mystery of Advent, Part One: The Meaning of Advent

Celebrating Christ’s Advent [Archbishop Raymond Burke]
Praying through Advent -- 2006
The Paradox of Advent
Experience the Joy of Advent
Advent: the Reason for the Season
The Advent Wreath
Advent Activity - The Jesse Tree
That incredible shrinking Advent-Christmas season (Christmas should start, not end, Dec. 25)
Advent Thoughts: Some of the Church Fathers on the Divinity of Christ
The Relationship Between Advent and the Change in the Seasons (Dom Guéranger)

9 posted on 12/01/2012 10:04:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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  PRAYERS AFTER
HOLY MASS AND COMMUNION

 


Leonine Prayers
    Following are the Prayers after Low Mass which were prescribed by Pope Leo XIII who composed the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and were reinforced by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII to pray for the conversion of Russia. Below the normal Leonine Prayers is the longer version of the Prayer to St. Michael, composed by His Excellency Pope Leo XIII to defend against The Great Apostasy.
Latin

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructis ventris tui, Jesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

    Salve Regina, Mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae. Ad te suspiramus gementes et fientes in hac lacrymarum valle. Eia ergo, Advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis, post hoc exilium, ostende. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

    Oremus. Deus, refugium nostrum et virtus, populum ad te clamantem propitius respice; et intercedente gloriosa, et immaculata Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, ejus Sponso, ac beatis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quas pro conversione peccatorum, pro libertate et exaltatione sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, preces effundimus, misericors et benignus exaudi. Per eundum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis, satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.

Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.
Cor Jesu sacratissimum. Miserere nobis.

Vernacular

   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst 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. Amen.
(Said 3 times)

   Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee to we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mouring and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

   Let us pray.
O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with mercy upon the people who cry to Thee; and by the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her spouse, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of the Holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

   Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.


Complete Prayer to Saint Michael
    The following is the longer version of the vital prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 after his startling vision as to the future of the Church. This prayer was dedicated for the Feast of St. Michael 1448 years from the date of the election of the first Leo - Pope Saint Leo the Great. Everyone is familiar with the first prayer below which was mandated by His Holiness as part of the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass. Below are both the short and longer versions of this poignant prayer which should never be forgotten.

    Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou, O heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

    V: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
    R: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
    V: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
    R: As we have hoped in Thee.
    V: O Lord hear my prayer.
    R: And let my cry come unto Thee.

    V: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls. Amen.


Prayer Before the Crucifix

   Look down upon me, O good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; the while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Thy five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me, calling to mind the words which David Thy prophet said of Thee, my good Jesus: "They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones."

Indulgence of ten years; a plenary indulgence if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, Raccolta 201)

Anima Christi - Soul of Christ

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds, hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to Thee, that with
Thy saints I may praise Thee for ever and ever. Amen.

Indulgence of 300 days; if recited after devout reception of Holy Communion, seven years Raccolta 131)

Prayer for Vocations

   O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst take to Thyself a body and soul like ours, to teach us the glory of self-sacrifice and service, mercifully deign to instill in other hearts the desire to dedicate their lives to Thee. Give us PRIESTS to stand before Thine Altar and to preach the words of Thy Gospel; BROTHERS to assist the priests and to reproduce in themselves Thy humility; SISTERS to teach the young and nurse the sick and to minister Thy charity to all; LAY PEOPLE to imitate Thee in their homes and families. Amen

10 posted on 12/01/2012 10:05:49 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
11 posted on 12/01/2012 10:06:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
12 posted on 12/01/2012 10:07:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.


13 posted on 12/01/2012 10:30:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  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. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  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. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


14 posted on 12/01/2012 10:32:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

15 posted on 12/01/2012 10:33:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


16 posted on 12/01/2012 10:34:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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immaculate_conception.jpg (155743 bytes)
 
December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of December is traditionally dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and hers, was preserved from all stain of original sin. This age-old belief of the Church was defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854 as an article of revealed truth.

Mary was in need of redemption and she was indeed redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner of Mary's redemption, however, was unique. Instead of being freed from original sin after having contracted it, she was preserved from contracting it. This was a most fitting favor for the Mother of the Redeemer.

INVOCATION
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

The Immaculate Conception from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”  The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”. The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.

The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.  By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

 

PRAYER OF POPE PIUS XII
This prayer, dedicated to Mary Immaculate, was composed by the Pope for the Marian Year (December 8, 1953-December 8, 1954), which was proclaimed to mark the centenary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty, and impelled by the anxieties of the world, we cast ourselves into your arms, 0 Immacuate Mother of Jesus and our Mother, Mary, confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires, and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery, we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature, from the first moment of your conception until the day on which, after your assumption into heaven, He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith, bathe our minds with the eternal truths! O fragrant Lily of all holiness, captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume! 0 Conqueress of evil and death, inspire in us a deep horror of sin, which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God, hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart. Bend tenderly over our aching wounds. Convert the wicked, dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed, comfort the poor and humble, quench hatreds, sweeten harshness, safeguard the flower of purity in youth, protect the holy Church, make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness. In your name, resounding harmoniously in heaven, may they recognize that they are brothers, and that the nations are members of one family, upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

Receive, O most sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars: You are all-beautiful, O Mary! You are the glory, you are the joy, you are the honor of our people! Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954


Litany of the Blessed Virgin

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 Spirit, ...
Holy Trinity, one God, ...

Holy Mary, pray for us
Holy Mother of God, pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins, ...
Mother of Christ, ...
Mother of Divine Grace, ...
Mother most pure, ...
Mother most chaste, ...
Mother inviolate, ...
Mother undefiled, ...
Mother most amiable, ...
Mother most admirable, ...
Mother of good counsel, ...
Mother of our Creator, ...
Mother of our Saviour, ...
Virgin most prudent, ...
Virgin most venerable, ...
Virgin most renowned, ...
Virgin most powerful, ...
Virgin most merciful, ...
Virgin most faithful, ...
Mirror of justice, ...
Seat of wisdom, ...
Cause of our joy, ...
Spiritual vessel, ...
Vessel of honour, ...
Singular vessel of devotion, ...
Mystical rose, ...
Tower of David, ...
Tower of ivory, ...
House of gold, ...
Ark of the covenant, ...
Gate of heaven, ...
Morning star, ...
Health of the sick, ...
Refuge of sinners, ...
Comforter of the afflicted, ...
Help of Christians, ...
Queen of Angels, ...
Queen of Patriarchs, ...
Queen of Prophets, ...
Queen of Apostles, ...
Queen of Martyrs, ...
Queen of Confessors, ...
Queen of Virgins, ...
Queen of all Saints, ...
Queen conceived without original sin, ...
Queen assumed into heaven, ...
Queen of the most holy Rosary, ...
Queen of Peace, ...

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.

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 gladness. 
Through Christ, our Lord. 

Amen.


 

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION NOVENA [Prayer]
Essays for Lent: The Immaculate Conception
"I Am The Immaculate Conception"
The Corona of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Caucus: Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer Thread
New chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon at National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Feast of the The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos December 9th
On the Immaculate Conception
Immaculate Mary: "Trust Jesus, he will save you" (Catholic Caucus)
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception

LAND OF MARY IMMACULATE [Ecumenical]
Mary as the New Eve - St. Irenaeus
Mary - the Immaculate Ark of the New Covenant [Catholic Caucus]
THE LIFE OF BLESSED JOHN DUNS SCOTUS, Defender of the Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
An Unfathomable Marian Richness [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Biblical Apologetics: The Immaculate Conception of Mary
History of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception - December 8 [Catholic Caucus]
Preserved Sinless from the Moment of Humanity (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception) [Catholic Caucus]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception [Catholic Caucus]
Father Marquette's Devotion to the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)

St. John Neumann and the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
And It Was Night. The Real Story of Original Sin [Ecumenical]
I Love that Woman! My Unworthy Reflections on The Immaculate Conception
Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Catholic/Orthodox Caucus: The Immaculate Conception: A Marvelous Theme - Novena Starts Nov. 30
THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - Satan's Mighty Foe(Catholic Caucus)
Ark of the new covenant
Historian reveals how Pius IX decided to proclaim dogma of Immaculate Conception (Catholic Caucus)
The Immaculate Vs. the Proud

Immaculate Conception Novena -- starts November 30th [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Blessed John Duns Scotus Champion Of Mary's Immaculate Conception (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
The Crusade of Mary Immaculate - St. Maximilian Kolbe (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate The Immaculate Conception
Her saving grace - the origins of the Immaculate Conception
Mary Is a Model Who Works With Us and in Us
U.S. Catholic bishops to renew consecration of nation to Immaculate Conception
Catholic Meditation: To the Immaculate Conception on this Election Day
Saint Bernadette of Lourdes (Sermon from 1934)

My visit to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception - "In Mary Shines the Eternal Goodness of the Creator"
The Belief of Catholics concerning the Blessed Virgin: the Second Eve
Pope makes pilgrimage to Mary statue in Rome, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception
Pope: Mary the Immaculate Conception... (text of BXVI speech)
"Tota pulchra es, Maria, et macula originalis non est in te" (The Immaculate Conception)
The Immaculate Conception — Essential to the Faith
"Who Are You, Immaculate Conception?"
TURKEY Ephesus: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Mary’s House
Coming Dec 8th. Feast of the "Immaculate Conception"

Why the Immaculate Conception?
Catholic Encyclopedia: Immaculate Conception (The Doctrine and Its Roots)
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady December 8
Mary's Immaculate Conception: A Memorable Anniversary
Ineffabilis Deus: 8 December 1854 (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)
Why do we believe in the Immaculate Conception?
John Paul II goes to Lourdes; reflections on the Immaculate Conception
Your Praises We Sing--on the Dogma of the Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8th
Eastern Christianity and the Immaculate Conception (Q&A From EWTN)
Memorandum on the Immaculate Conception [Newman]

17 posted on 12/01/2012 10:37:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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December 2012

Pope's intentions

General Intention: That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities.

Missionary Intention: Christ, light for all humanity. That Christ may reveal himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of his Church.


18 posted on 12/01/2012 10:38:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Arlington Catholic Herald

GOSPEL COMMENTARY LK 21:25-28, 34-36
’Tis the season
Fr. Jerome Magat

The secularization of Christmas by contemporary society and its overemphasis on the material aspects on what began as a religious celebration challenges Catholics and other Christians to utilize the season of Advent for its true purpose: preparation for Christmas. The secularized version of Christmas begins with the rush to the malls on the Friday after Thanksgiving and ends abruptly on the evening of Dec. 25. This presents a very difficult obstacle for Catholics who want to use Advent as a preparatory season for Christmas since most “holiday” office parties occur well before Christmas Day and the rush for gifts and the seasonal music heard on the airwaves lend to Advent being anything but preparatory. It seems that rather than prepare us for Christmas, the entire month of December is celebrated as if it were Christmas.

The message of the Gospel for the first Sunday of Advent can be summarized in three phrases found within the narrative itself: “Be watchful.” “Be alert.” “Watch.” While Advent helps us to prepare for the commemoration of the Lord’s first coming (Christmas), it also foreshadows the moment when He will come at the end of time. To help us better understand the urgency with which we should anticipate the Lord’s return in glory, Jesus compares us to servants awaiting their master’s return but not knowing exactly when it will occur. This uncertainty should not leave us dreading the future. Rather, it should impel us to live in such a way that whenever Jesus returns, we will be found ready and waiting. Our whole lives should be an ongoing preparation to meet the King of Kings whenever He returns in glory.

How can we utilize Advent to become better prepared? First, undertaking voluntary penances during the season of Advent, consonant with the purple vesture that priests wear and sanctuaries display, is among the most effective ways of being watchful and alert during the season of Advent. Second, dedicating a portion of what one might spend on gifts toward charitable causes is yet another way of mortifying the secular tendency to overindulge during this season. Finally, we should dedicate ourselves to intensified prayer during this time. Meditating upon the joyful mysteries of the rosary; reading the infancy narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; and praying around an Advent wreath in the home are all time-honored ways of preparing the heart to receive our Savior. One may notice that the suggestions above include prayer, fasting and almsgiving, similar to Lent. These should not come as a surprise — Advent is, after all, a season of penance. While its tenor of penance is not equal to that of Lent, it remains a penitential season of preparation nonetheless.

May the exhortations in the Gospel passage spur us unto greater awareness and preparedness for our meeting with Jesus — at the crèche and at our particular judgment. Like the servants depicted in the Gospel passage, may we understand our place in the universe: living on the edge of the shadow of eternity while fully engaged in the work of the kingdom that must be accomplished here on earth while there is still time to prepare for Jesus’ second coming.

Fr. Magat is parochial vicar of St. William of York Parish in Stafford.


19 posted on 12/01/2012 10:56:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Work of God

  Look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. Catholic Gospels - Homilies - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit

Year C

 -  First Sunday of Advent

Look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.

Look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. Catholic Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;
26 Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved;
27 And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty.
28 But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly.
35 For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

First Sunday of Advent - Look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. Even though human wisdom is limited in comprehending the divine mysteries, there is not any human being who cannot recognize the greatness of God. Every man and every woman have in their hearts questions regarding the end of their lives and the end of the world.

Some people are afraid in this respect, reflecting seriously, and fearing their creator, while others laugh and feel indifferent.

A human being is powerless before the great disasters of nature; thousands of lives are lost each year because of the fury of the elements. Drinking water is more scarce every day, the earth is increasing its aridity, the extremes of heat and cold intensify each year, climates are showing their inclemency constantly, the soil refuses to produce as before and the whole world suffers awaiting a better future. All these signs signal the disapproval of Providence before the state of the world.

While millions of human beings live in poverty, others live in opulence. Injustice has brought this humanity to its own suffering. The exploitation of people has created unemployment. When technologies are misused, they often do more damage than good. World leaders don’t use their influence to procure a better future for the poor. All this is an insult to God who has created everything with the desire for the well being of all.

Besides injustice there is sin and crime, which grow each day as if there was not a God who can see everything and who has reward and punishment for all human actions.

I have come to point out the way to liberation, I have come to prepare souls with my instruction, I have come to warn them of the consequences of a life without God. I have told you to prepare for my second coming, which won’t be like the first, when I was the victim.

My second coming will be triumphant and majestic, it will crush all those who did wrong and despised goodness, it will be full of my power and glory as Judge. This is why I warn you to stay alert, because no one knows the moment of the day in which everything that exists will disappear and everyone will be face to face with my Justice.

Have recourse to my bountiful mercy while it is possible; take advantage of your time by doing good works and by preparing yourselves for the great change, which must come. Everything that has been predicted will come to pass.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary


20 posted on 12/01/2012 11:01:56 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

A Recipe for Readiness – A Meditation on the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent.

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

As we begin the Advent Season, we are immediately drawn into its principle theme of preparation and readiness for the coming of the Lord. The first coming of the Lord has already been fulfilled at Bethlehem. And while we should prepare spiritually for the coming Christmas Feast, these first weeks of Advent bid us to focus even more on the Second Coming of the Lord in Glory.

Thus, as the curtains draw back on the opening scenes of Advent we are given warning from the Lord that he will come on the clouds with great power and glory and we must be prepared. Beware! He says, Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.

The Gospel is taken from the Mt Olivet discourse, and as we saw two weeks ago, the historical context in which the Lord was speaking was not the end of the world, not the destruction of the cosmos, but was the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. It was however, for those ancient Jews, the end of the world as they knew it. And for us as well, the destruction of Ancient Jerusalem is also a paradigm (a symbol) of the end of the world, which, for us, will definitively end, either by our death and going to stand before the Lord, or by his coming to us, in the Second Coming.

Whatever the personal context will be for us, the message is the same: Be ready!

With that in mind we do well to study this Gospel and heed its message, set forth in two stages.

I. DOUBLE VISION - The Gospel opens with a description of tribulations that are about to come on the Land. Bu in that description there is a twofold reaction that is described. Note the First the tribulation that is described and first of two reactions that is intertwined with it:

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

And thus we see all the political powers weak and in dismay, and fixed points in this world such as the sun, moon and stars, the sea and the land, shaken. And this will cause many to be frightened, in shock, bewilderment and dismay. And thus is described the first reaction of one group of human being.

But note that not all human beings do react this way. There is a second reaction that is prescribed and described:

But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

Yes, a very different reaction, one of expectant joy and of serene confidence. And so we see here a kind of “double-vision.”

  1. Some cry out with fear and say “He is wrathful!” Others with faith say “He is Wonderful!”
  2. To some he is frightening, to others fabulous.
  3. To some, these events are awful, to others Awe-inspiring.
  4. Some shout “Horror on every side!” others sing “Hallelujah to the King of Kings!

Thus, there is the dread of the defeated and the delight of the delivered. Of those who experience dread other Scriptures say

  1. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. (Rev 1:7)
  2. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)

And of those who experience delight other Scriptures say:

  1. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:20)
  2. Come, O Lord! (1 Cor 16:22)
  3. Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book. (Rev 22:7)
  4. He who is coming will come and will not delay. My righteous will live by faith….we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:37,39)
  5. In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom 8:37)
  6. Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. (Malachi 4:1-2)

Yes, a kind of double vision, a double and very different experience of the same reality. The difference of course as we shall see is sin and grace, and with which “army” we have allied ourselves.

Consider as an image, the Civil War. As with any war, the issues were complex which led to arms be taken up. But it is simply not possible to extract from the mix the egregious injustice and sin of slavery. And, as the Northern troops swept (often ruthlessly) through the South there were some who saw only destruction and conquest. But there were others who saw something very different. An old spiritual from the time said:

Oh the slave folk say “Ho! Ho!
And the master says, “Oh No!”
And it must be now that the kingdom’s coming
In the year of Jubilo!

Yes, a double vision. For some, the definitive end to power and the “South” they knew. To others, vindication and freedom.
But in order for us to celebrate on that day when the Lord shall come, there are prerequisites that must be met. And that leads us to the next stage of this Gospel.

II. DIRECTIVES - The Lord goes on to instruct us in how to be ready for the Great and Terrible day of the Lord:

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.

And herein the Lord gives us five basic directives of things to avoid, and practices to adopt in order that we be ready and able to greet him in all his Glory. It may be helpful to alter the order in which the Lord lists them since he announces the effect (drowsiness) and then the causes. This is typical of ancient practice. But for we moderns, it is more common to speak of causes and describe effects. Hence we proceed with a slightly different order:

1. DEBAUCHERY - In our text the Lord warns of the problem of  “carousing.” But the Greek word here is κραιπάλῃ (kraipale), meaning most literally,  the giddiness and headache caused by drinking wine to excess. More generally it means the excessive indulgence of all our passions, or living life to excess. Other translators render this word “dissipation” referring to the general squandering and loss of resources that results from excessive indulgence.

We of course live in times that are skilled in (over)supplying our every need. There is lots of potential for excess.  At the market there is not merely bread, but fifty different types of bread. Our oversupply and overindulgence is literally reflected in our bodies as obesity and its consequent diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease plagues us.

But it is not just food that is excessive, it is everything. We are excessively busy in the non-essentials of life and there are innumerable schemes to occupy our minds. Our minds are overstimulated so that we cannot hear that “still, small voice.” Most people have a very short attention span due to over-stimulation. All day long the noise of radio or mp3 player, the TV, DVD, CD’s, PC’s iPads, cell phones, all constantly seizing our attention. It jams our minds and break that union with Christ, even with our self. And then there the 24 hour news channels generating noise an hype about even ordinary events: “BREAKING NEWS!” Our e-mail is flooded with junk mail and every kind of alert and promotional, offering free products, services and false hopes. There are endless money schemes, Powerball, the numbers, sweepstakes. An oh the sales, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, post and pre holiday sales. Excess everywhere: news, money schemes, sales, deals. It is like the carnival hucksters: “step right up!” But it is worse since we cannot get away.

We spend, spend, spend then borrow, borrow, borrow. We need double incomes and to work 6 or 7 days a week, 10- 12 hours a day, so we can afford our lifestyles. Having “the goods” we are never there to enjoy them, and we sacrifice family on the altar of pleasure. We have an excess of everything except children, for they harm our ability to consume by denting our income.

Even our recreation is excessive. Our weekends and vacations often leave us exhausted, disquieted, and unprepared for the coming week. A simple quiet weekend, reflecting on nature and God’s wonders, or spending quiet time at home with family? No way, its off to sporting events of our over scheduled (but fewer) children. The weekends meant for rest feature more shopping, and disquieting events like loud bars and often enervating  events like football games and drinking rituals related to same.

Yes, its all excess. It weighs us down, wearies us, cost a lot of time and money and isn’t really all that satisfying anyway. It is dissipation. In the end we have something like that headache and hung over feeling after a night of drinking of which the Greek word kraipale speaks. But up goes the cry anyway: “More! – Yes, “One more round.” Excess, dissipation, surfeiting, carousing, more, more more! And that leads next to:

2. DIVISIONS  - The Lord warns of the anxieties of daily life. Here the Greek word is μερίμναις (merimnais) meaning more literally “a part, separated from the whole;” “that which divides and fractures a person into parts.” And thus we see the human person, overwhelmed with excess, incapable of distinguishing the urgent from the important, the merely pleasurable form the productive. On account of our over-stimulation, our excess, we are pulled in many contrary directions. We are chasing butterflies. We can’t decide, our loyalties are divided and conflictual. We are endlessly distracted by a thousand contrary drives and concerns.

This is anxiety, the condition of being overwhelmed and divided by many and contrary drives, demands and priorities. Anxiety freezes and perplexes us. There is too much at stake and no central governing principle to direct our decisions. All of this overwhelms and clouds our mind and heart. We are anxious about many things and cannot determine the “one thing necessary” that will order all the details (cf Luke 10:42). This is anxiety and the Lord enumerates it as among those things that destroy our readiness to stand before him with joy. Next comes:

3. DRUNKENNESS – Here the Greek word is very straight forward: μέθῃ (methe), drunk on wine. But why do we drink? Frankly we drink to medicate our anxiety. Overwhelmed by the excess that leads to anxiety (inner division and conflict) we drink to medicate our sense of being overwhelmed. Something has to soothe us. And, instead of slowing down and seeking God, we drink. We anesthetize our mind. And it is not only alcohol that we use. We use things, people, power, sex, entertainment, diversions and distractions, all to soothe our mind, stirred up by tensions and anxieties.

This of course only deepens the central problem. For all these things only add to the very problem that has disturbed us in the first place: the kraipale that is excess and dissipation. For the solution is to get clear about our priorities, seek God and allow him to order our lives. But instead of seeking a clear mind, we do the opposite and tune out. A little wine is a gift from God, (cf Psalm 104:15) to cheer our hearts. But remember excess if the problem, and so we go beyond cheer to dull the mind.

To be sober is to have a clear mind, a mind that knows and is in touch with reality, goals and final ends. To be sober is to be alert, to be honest, to be be reasonable and to be acting in a way that bespeaks thoughtful, and deliberative movement toward a rational and worthy goal. The sober person acts consciously and purposefully toward a unifying goal, the goal that is being with God. St. Paul says, But this one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-14).

But lacking one unifying thing, and torn apart within and anxious on account of the excesses we insist on keeping, we dull our minds and use alcohol as a medicine for our stress, our anxiety, our inner divisions. The Lord calls us to clarity, but we retreat into an insobriety.We are, in effect hung over by indulging the excesses of this world and then “medicating” the inner divisions it created. Our minds go dull, we tune out. And all of this, the excess which leads to

4. DROWSINESS - The Lord says, Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy - The Greek word translated as drowsy here is βαρηθῶσιν (barethosin) meaning burdened, heavy-laden, overcome, or weighted down.  And thus we see that the effect that all of the above has in our lives is to weigh us down, to burden our hearts. Laden with excess, divided by contrary demands and medicating the stress with insobriety, our hearts become burdened and tired. They are no longer hearts inflamed and animated with love. They are hearts that have become weary, distracted, bored and  tired of holy things and of the Lord. Instead of being watchful in prayer, the drowsy heart weighted with sin, excess, division, and insobriety, sleeps on. It no longer keeps watch for the Lord whom it is called to love.

Yes the world, and our sinful preoccupations with it, weighs our hearts down. It captures our love and attention and we become drowsy toward spiritual things.

In the Garden the Lord asked the Apostles to pray. But they had spent their energy that night at table arguing with Jesus and debating among themselves about who was greatest. And divided within, they wanted Jesus, but they also wanted the world and its fame and power. Struck by the conflict and tension that Jesus’ words about suffering and dying brought, they were divided and anxious. And so they medicated it all, and tuned out. They likely had more than a few drinks of wine that night. Weighed down and exhausted by worldly preoccupations and priorities, their burdened hearts were too drowsy to pray. Drowsy, they slept. (But Satan did not sleep that night).

Consider the words of Jesus to the Church at Ephesus: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Rev 2:5-6) Jesus also warns:  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold (Mat 24:12). Yes, the sinful indulgence of the excess of sin, divides and stresses us. Since it is too much we tune out, and medicate our mind, and thus our hearts grow cold, burdened, and heavy with sin. Thus heavy and weary, our hearts go to sleep and we lose our first love.

What to do about this awful cycle? And thus comes the answer:

5. DUE DILIGENCE – The Lord says, Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.

The Lord does not describe this terrible cycle of Debauchery (excess), Division (anxiety), Drunkenness (self-medication), and Drowsiness (heavy hearts) merely to define the problem. Having diagnosed our condition he prescribes the remedy of prayerful vigilance.

To be vigilantly prayerful is to be in living, conscious contact with God. It is to have our hearts and minds focused on the one thing necessary (cf Lk 10:42), and having this focus, to have our life ordered. With this order properly established our excesses regarding this world fall away, and the many anxieties and divisions associated with it depart. That having gone, we no longer need to medicate and soothe our anxious minds. This lightens our heart and its heaviness goes away. No it is free to love and desire with well ordered love.

Having set our sights on God, through vigilant prayer, everything else in our life becomes ordered. And when Christ comes, he will not come to disrupt our world, but to confirm what we are already used to, namely, that Jesus Christ is the center and meaning of my life.

Through prayerful vigilance we can stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. Why? We are used to seeing him and experiencing his authority. He thus comes not to destroy and usurp our disordered lives, but to confirm and fulfill what has always been true for us, the Jesus is the center of our lives.


21 posted on 12/01/2012 11:11:12 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday Gospel Reflections

First Sunday of Advent
Reading I:
Jer 33:14-16 II: 1 Thes 3:12-4:2


Gospel
Luke 21:25-28,34-36

25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
26 men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
34 "But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare;
35 for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
36 But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."


Interesting Details

  • This year of Luke begins with his version of the discourse on final days. The discourse consists of three main sections:
    - First section, 21:10-11, describes the end signs and tell us what to expect.
    - Center section, 21:20-23, the fate of Jerusalem.
    - Last section, 21:25-26, again describes the end signs and tell us what to do.
  • During this period of teaching, Jesus spent the larger portion of His time in the temple. Jesus knew that His death was near so He taught all that was most urgent and critical for us to know. Precious gifts from a "dying man."
  • The coming of the Day of the Lord was to be preceded by cosmic and natural events. Jesus warned us of His coming back, with the implication that He was the fulfillment of the Son of Man. Thus, the Day of the Lord is simultaneous with the coming back of the Son of Man.
  • The end signs are universal, all of creation will be involved. This disproves false claims that a single catastrophe is an end sign.
  • (v.28) "Your redemption is near": This verse bursts with a message of confidence and hope for disciples. In contrast to the cowardly actions of other man and woman (V.26-27), faithful disciples stand erect with heads held high, without fear and shame, to greet their faithful judge, Jesus, Son of Man.
  • (v.34) Since about 95 percent of the population of Palestine at the time were poor peasants, this kind of warning would be directed to the wealthy who had both the leisure and opportunity to carouse, got drunk and be consumed by "worldly cares."


One Main Point

Jesus will come again in glory. That should not cause fear but bring joy over our redemption.


Reflections

  • Have I prepared myself for the day the Lord comes? What do I have to do to be strong when He comes?
  • Putting myself in the days that extraordinary events are happening, what actions will I take and what feelings will I have? Am I ready? Have I completely entrusted all things according to God's will?
  • Have I placed complete faith in God when life presents obstacles on my path?

22 posted on 12/01/2012 11:14:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Sunday, December 02, 2012
First Sunday of Advent (Blessing of Advent Wreath after homily)
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
1 Thessalonians 3:12 -- 4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

"Virtues are formed by prayer.
Prayer preserves temperance.
Prayer suppresses anger.
Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy.
Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven."

-- St Ephraem


23 posted on 12/01/2012 11:18:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

24 posted on 12/01/2012 11:20:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

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. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


25 posted on 12/01/2012 11:35:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


Information:
St. Bibiana
Feast Day: December 2
Born: 4th century in Rome
Died: 361
Patron of: against epilepsy, against hangovers, against headaches, against insanity, against mental illness, epileptics, mentally ill people, single laywomen, torture victims



26 posted on 12/02/2012 7:59:32 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Bibiana

St. Bibiana
Feast Day: December 02
Born:(around)330 :: Died:361

Bibiana's father Flavian was a prefect of the city of Rome in early Christian times. He and his wife Dafrosa were good Christians and everyone knew it. So when Emperor Julian left the Catholic Church, he began harassing the Catholics.

Flavian was arrested, branded on the face with a hot iron and sent away from the country. After he died, his wife Dafrosa was also made a prisoner in her own house. This was only because of her good Christian life. Then she, too, was put to death.

Left alone with her sister, Demetria, Bibiana tried with all her heart to trust in God and pray. Everything they had was being taken from these young women. Then they were taken to court.

Poor Demetria was so frightened that she dropped dead at the judge's feet. Bibiana was handed over to a sinful woman, who was supposed to make her as evil as she was.

This woman tried by sweet words and many clever tricks to make Bibiana do wrong. But the saint refused. She was imprisoned in a madhouse and then brought back to court and beaten. Yet she held to her faith and purity as strongly as ever.

St. Bibiana was beaten to death with leaden scourges and her body was left to the dogs but none came near her. Two days later, a priest buried her at night beside her mother and sister.

A church was built over her grave. In the church garden, there grew a herb (plant) that cured headaches and epilepsy.


27 posted on 12/02/2012 8:03:57 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Luke
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 21
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves; Et erunt signa in sole, et luna, et stellis, et in terris pressura gentium præ confusione sonitus maris, et fluctuum : και εσται σημεια εν ηλιω και σεληνη και αστροις και επι της γης συνοχη εθνων εν απορια ηχουσης θαλασσης και σαλου
26 Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; arescentibus hominibus præ timore, et exspectatione, quæ supervenient universo orbi : nam virtutes cælorum movebuntur : αποψυχοντων ανθρωπων απο φοβου και προσδοκιας των επερχομενων τη οικουμενη αι γαρ δυναμεις των ουρανων σαλευθησονται
27 And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. et tunc videbunt Filium hominis venientem in nube cum potestate magna et majestate. και τοτε οψονται τον υιον του ανθρωπου ερχομενον εν νεφελη μετα δυναμεως και δοξης πολλης
28 But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. His autem fieri incipientibus, respicite, et levate capita vestra : quoniam appropinquat redemptio vestra. αρχομενων δε τουτων γινεσθαι ανακυψατε και επαρατε τας κεφαλας υμων διοτι εγγιζει η απολυτρωσις υμων
[...]
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly. Attendite autem vobis, ne forte graventur corda vestra in crapula, et ebrietate, et curis hujus vitæ, et superveniat in vos repentina dies illa : προσεχετε δε εαυτοις μηποτε βαρηθωσιν υμων αι καρδιαι εν κραιπαλη και μεθη και μεριμναις βιωτικαις και αιφνιδιος εφ υμας επιστη η ημερα εκεινη
35 For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth. tamquam laqueus enim superveniet in omnes qui sedent super faciem omnis terræ. ως παγις γαρ επελευσεται επι παντας τους καθημενους επι προσωπον πασης της γης
36 Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man. Vigilate itaque, omni tempore orantes, ut digni habeamini fugere ista omnia quæ futura sunt, et stare ante Filium hominis. αγρυπνειτε ουν εν παντι καιρω δεομενοι ινα καταξιωθητε εκφυγειν παντα τα μελλοντα γινεσθαι και σταθηναι εμπροσθεν του υιου του ανθρωπου

28 posted on 12/02/2012 8:11:39 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
25. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

BEDE; The events which were to follow the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles He explains in regular order, saying, There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.

AMBROSE; All which signs are more clearly described in Matthew, Then shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.

EUSEB. For at that time when the end of this perishing life shall be accomplished, and, as the Apostle says, The fashion of this world passes away, then shall succeed a new world in which instead of sensible light, Christ Himself shall shine as a sunbeam, and as the King of the new world, and so mighty and glorious will be His light, that the sun which now dazzles so brightly, and the moon and all the stars, shall be hidden by the coming of a far greater light.

CHRYS For as in this world the moon and the stars are soon dimmed by the rising of the sun, so at the glorious appearance of Christ shall the sun become dark, and the moon not shed her ray, and the stars shall fall from heaven, stripped of their former attire, that they may put on the robe of a better light.

EUSEB. What things shall befall the world after the darkening of the orbs of light, and whence shall arise the straitening of nations, He next explains as follows, And of the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea. Wherein He seems to teach, that the beginning of the universal change will be owing to the failing of the watery substance. For this being first absorbed or congealed, so that no longer is heard the roaring of the sea, nor do the waves reach the shore because of the exceeding drought, the other parts of the world, ceasing to obtain the usual vapor which came forth from the watery matter, shall undergo a revolution. Accordingly since the appearance of Christ must put down the prodigies which resist God, namely, those of Antichrist, the beginnings of wrath shall take their rise from droughts, such as that neither storm nor roaring of the sea be any more heard.

And this event shall be succeeded by the distress of the men who survive; as it follows, Men's hearts being dried up for fear, and looking after those things which shall come upon the whole world. But the things that shall then come upon the world He proceeds to declare, adding, For the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

THEOPHYL. Or else, When the higher world shall be changed, then also the lower elements shall suffer loss; whence it follows, And on the earth distress of nations, &c. As if He said, the sea shall roar terribly, and its shores shall be shaken with the tempest, so that of the people and nations of the earth there shall be distress, that is, a universal misery, so that they shall pine away from fear and expectation of the evils which are coming upon the world.

AUG. But you will say, your punishment compels you to confess that the end is now approaching, seeing the fulfillment of that which was foretold. For it is certain there is no country, no place in our time, which is not affected or troubled. But if those evils which mankind now suffer are sure signs that our Lord is now about to come, what means that which the Apostle says, For when they shall say peace and safety. Let us see then if it be not perhaps better to understand the words of prophecy to be not so fulfilled, but rather that they will come to pass when the tribulation of the whole world shall be such that it shall belong to the Church, which shall be troubled by the whole world, not to those who shall trouble it. For they are those who shall say, Peace and safety. But now these evils which are counted the greatest and most immoderate, we see to be common to both the kingdoms of Christ and the Devil. For the good and the evil are alike afflicted with them, and among these great evils is the yet universal resort to licentious feasts. Is not this the being dried up from fear, or rather the being burnt up from lust?

THEOPHYL. But not only shall men be tossed about when the world shall be changed, but angels even shall stand amazed at the terrible revolutions of the universe. Hence it follows, And the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

GREG. For whom does He call the powers of heaven, but the angels, dominions, principalities, and powers? which at the coming of the strict Judge shall then appear visibly to our eyes, that they may strictly exact judgment of us, seeing that now our invisible Creator patiently bears with us.

EUSEB. When also the Son of God shall come in glory, and shall crush the proud empire of the son of sin, the angels of heaven attending Him, the doors of heaven which have been shut from the foundation of the world shall be opened, that the things that are on high may be witnessed.

CHRYS. Or the heavenly powers shall be shaken, although themselves know it not. For when they see the innumerable multitudes condemned, they shall not stand there without trembling.

BEDE; Thus it is said in Job, the pillars of heaven tremble and are afraid at his reproof. What then do the boards do, when the pillars tremble? what does the shrub of the desert suffer, when the cedar of Paradise is shaken?

EUSEB. Or the powers of heaven are those which preside over the sensible parts of the universe, which indeed shall then be shaken that they may attain to a better state. For they shall be discharged from the ministry with which they serve God toward the sensible bodies in their perishing condition.

AUG. But that the Lord may not seem to have foretold as extraordinary those things concerning His second coming, which were wont to happen to this world even before His first coming, and that we may not be laughed at by those who have read more and greater events than these in the history of nations, I think what has been said may be better understood to apply to the Church. For the Church is the sun, the moon, and the stars, to whom it was said, Fair as the moon, elect as the sun. And she will then not be seen for the unbounded rage of the persecutors.

AMBROSE; While many also fall away from religion, clear faith will be obscured by the cloud of unbelief, for to me that Sun of righteousness is either diminished or increased according to my faith; and as the moon in its monthly wanings, or when it is opposite the sun by the interposition of the earth, suffers eclipse, so also the holy Church when the sins of the flesh oppose the heavenly light, cannot borrow the brightness of divine light from Christ's rays. For in persecutions, the love of this world generally shuts out the light of the divine Sun; the stars also fall, that is, men who shine in glory fall when the bitterness of persecution waxes sharp and prevails. And this must be until the multitude of the Church be gathered in, for thus are the good tried and the weak made manifest.

AUG. But in the words, And upon the earth distress of nations, He would understand by nations, not those which shall be blessed in the seed of Abraham, but those which shall stand on the left hand.

AMBROSE; So severe then will be the manifold fires of our souls, that with consciences depraved through the multitude of crimes, by reason of our fear of the coming judgment, the dew of the sacred fountain will be dried upon us. But as the Lord's coming is looked for, in order that His presence may dwell in the whole circle of mankind or the world, which now dwells in each individual who has embraced Christ with his whole heart, so the powers of heaven shall at our Lord's coming obtain an increase of grace, and shall be moved by the fullness of the Divine nature more closely infusing itself. There are also heavenly powers which proclaim the glory of God, which shall be stirred by a fuller infusion of Christ, that they may see Christ.

AUG. Or the powers of heaven shall be stirred, because when the ungodly persecute, some of the most stout-hearted believers shall be troubled.

THEOPHYL. It follows, And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds. Both the believers and unbelievers shall see Him, for He Himself as well as His cross shall glisten brighter than the sun, and so shall be observed of all.

AUG. But the words, coming in the clouds, may be taken in two ways. Either coming in His Church as it were in a cloud, as He now ceases not to come. But then it shall be with great power and majesty, for far greater will His power and might appear to His saints, to whom He will give great virtue, that they may not be overcome in such a fearful persecution. Or in His body in which He sits at His Father's right hand He must rightly be supposed to come, and not only in His body, but also in a cloud, for He will come even as He went away, And a cloud received him out of their sight.

CHRYS. For God ever appears in a cloud, according to the Psalms, clouds and darkness are round about him. Therefore shall the Son of man come in the clouds as God, and the Lord, not secretly, but in glory worthy of God. Therefore He adds, with great power and majesty.

CYRIL; Great must be understood in like manner. For His first appearance He made in our weakness and lowliness, the second He shall celebrate in all His own power.

GREG. For in power and majesty will men see Him, whom in lowly stations they refused to hear, that so much the more acutely they may feel His power, as they are now the less willing to bow the necks of their hearts to His sufferings.

28. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.

GREG. Having in what has gone before spoken against the reprobate, He now turns His words to the consolation of the elect; for it is added, When these things begin to be, look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws nigh; as if he says, When the buffetings of the world multiply, lift up your heads, that is, rejoice your hearts, for when the world closes whose friends you are not, the redemption is near which you seek. For in holy Scripture the head is often put for the mind, for as the members are ruled by the head, so are the thoughts regulated by the mind. To lift up our heads then, is to raise up our minds to the joys of the heavenly country.

EUSEB. Or else, To those that have passed through the body and bodily things, shall be present spiritual and heavenly bodies: that is, they will have no more to pass the kingdom of the world, and then to those that are worthy shall be given the promises of salvation. For having received the promises of God which we look for, we who before were crooked shall be made upright, and we shall lift up our heads who were before bent low; because the redemption which we hoped for is at hand; that namely for which the whole creation waits.

THEOPHYL. That is, perfect liberty of body and soul. For as the first coming of our Lord was for the restoration of our souls, so will the second be manifested to the restoration of our bodies.

EUSEB. He speaks these things to His disciples, not as to those who would continue in this life to the end of the world, but as if uniting in one body of believers in Christ both themselves and us and our posterity, even to the end of the world.

34. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36. Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

THEOPHYL. Our Lord declared above the fearful and sensible signs of the evils which should overtake sinners, against which the only remedy is watching and prayer, as it is said, And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time, &c.

BASIL; Every animal has within itself certain instincts which it has received from God, for the preservation of its own being. Wherefore Christ has also given us this warning, that what comes to them by nature, may be ours by the aid of reason and prudence: that we may flee from sin as the brute creatures shun deadly food, but that we seek after righteousness, as they wholesome herbs. Therefore said He, Take heed to yourselves, that is, that you may distinguish the noxious from the wholesome. But since there are two ways of taking heed to ourselves, the one with the bodily eyes, the other by the faculties of the soul, and the bodily eye does not reach to virtue; it remains that we speak of the operations of the soul. Take heed, that is, Look around you on all sides, keeping an ever watchful eye to the guardianship of your soul. He says not, Take heed to your own or to the things around, but to yourselves. For you are mind and spirit, your body is only of sense. Around you are riches, arts, and all the appendages of life, you must not mind these, but your soul, of which you must take especial care. The same admonition tends both to the healing of the sick, and the perfecting of those that are well, namely, such as are the guardians of the present, the providers of the future, not judging the actions of others, but strictly searching their own, not suffering the mind to be the slave of their passions but subduing the irrational part of the soul to the rational. But the reason why we should take heed He adds as follows, Lest at any time your hearts be overcharged, &c.

TIT. BOST. As if He says, Beware lest the eyes of your mind wax heavy. For the cares of this life, and surfeiting, and drunkenness, scare away prudence, shatter and make shipwreck of faith.

CLEM. ALEX. Drunkenness is an excessive use of wine; crapula is the uneasiness, and nausea attendant on drunkenness, a Greek word so called from the motion of the head. And a little below. As then we must partake of food lest we suffer hunger, so also of drink lest we thirst, but with still greater care to avoid falling into excess. For the indulgence of wine is deceitful, and the soul when free from wine will be the wisest and best, but steeped in the fumes of wine is lost as in a cloud.

BASIL; But carefulness, or the care of this life, although it seems to have nothing unlawful in it, nevertheless if it conduce not to religion, must be avoided. And the reason why He said this He shows by what comes next, And so that day come upon you unawares.

THEOPHYL. For that day will not come when men are expecting it, but unlooked for and by stealth, taking as a snare those who are unwary. For as a snare shall it come upon all them that sit upon the face of the earth. But this we may diligently keep far from us. For that day will take those that sit on the face of the earth, as the unthinking and slothful. But as many as are prompt and active in the way of good, not sitting and loitering on the ground, but rising from it, saying to themselves, Rise up, be gone, for here there is no rest for you. To such that day is not as a perilous snare, but a day of rejoicing.

EUSEB. He taught them therefore to take heed to the things we have just before mentioned, lest they fall into the indolence resulting therefrom. Hence it follows, Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all those things that shall come to pass.

THEOPHYL. Namely, hunger, pestilence, and such like, which for a time only threaten the elect and others, and those things also which are hereafter the lot of the guilty for ever. For these we can in no wise escape, save by watching and prayer.

AUG. This is supposed to be that flight which Matthew mentions; which must not be in the winter or on the sabbath day. To the winter belong the cares of this life, which are mournful as the winter, but to the sabbath surfeiting and drunkenness, which drowns and buries the heart in carnal luxury and delight, since on that day the Jews are immersed in worldly pleasure, while they are lost to a spiritual sabbath.

THEOPHYL. And because a Christian needs not only to flee evil, but to strive to obtain glory, He adds, And to stand before the Son of man. For this is the glory of angels, to stand before the Son of man, our God, and always to behold His face.

BEDE; Now supposing a physician should bid us beware of the juice of a certain herb, lest a sudden death overtake us, we should most earnestly attend to his command; but when our Savior warns us to shun drunkenness and surfeiting, and the cares of this world, men have no fear of being wounded and destroyed by them; for the faith which they put in the caution of the physician, they disdain to give to the words of God.

Catena Aurea Luke 21
29 posted on 12/02/2012 8:12:57 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Mother of God "The Sign"

30 posted on 12/02/2012 8:13:40 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
"The Sign" is a derivation from the better known Oranta icon. In "The Sign" (Russian «Знамение») the emphasis is not on the intercessory prayer of Our Lady, but rather on the mystery of the Incarnation. In this one iconographic type several meanings are compressed: the Annunciation, the anticipation of the Divine Birth, and the entire life of the Church all the way to the Second Coming. Appropriately, the Russian iconographer (identified only as Fr. Cyprian) added insets with depiction of historical events in his local Church.

Source.

31 posted on 12/02/2012 8:21:02 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All
 
Catholic
Almanac:

Sunday, December 2

Liturgical Color: Violet


Today the Church honors Bl. Liduina Meneguzzi. At age 24, she joined the Sisters of the Congregation of St. Francis de Sales and was sent to work as a nurse in Ethiopia. She displayed great courage helping the injured during World War II.


32 posted on 12/02/2012 3:27:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: December 02, 2012
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Advent: December 2nd

First Sunday of Advent

Old Calendar: First Sunday of Advent

For us Catholics, the new Liturgical Year commences with the first Sunday of Advent. In this new liturgical year, the Church not only wishes to indicate the beginning of a period, but the beginning of a renewed commitment to the faith by all those who follow Christ, the Lord. This time of prayer and path of penance that is so powerful, rich and intense, endeavors to give us a renewed impetus to truly welcome the message of the One who was incarnated for us. In fact, the entire Liturgy of the Advent Season, will spur us to an awakening in our Christian life and will put us in a ‘vigilant’ disposition, to wait for Our Lord Jesus who is coming:

‘Awaken! Remember that God comes! Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today, now! The one true God, "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob", is not a God who is there in Heaven, unconcerned with us and our history, but he is the-God-who-comes.1

The Season of Advent is therefore a season of vigilant waiting, that prepares us to welcome the mystery of the Word Incarnate, who will give the ‘Light’ to the womb of the Virgin Mary, but essentially this time prepares us not only to welcome this great event but to incarnate it in our lives. We could say that the true light enters the world through the immaculate womb of Mary but it does not stay there. On the contrary, this light flows out into our dark, obscure, sinful lives to illuminate them, so that we can become the light that illuminates the world. For this reason, let us live this time of waiting not only to celebrate a historical memory but to repeat this memory in our lives and in the service of others. To wait for the Lord who comes, means to wait and to watch so that the Word of Love enters inside us and focuses us every day of our lives.

As Blessed John Henry Newman reminded us in a homily for the Advent Season: “Advent is a time of waiting, it is a time of joy because the coming of Christ is not only a gift of grace and salvation but it is also a time of commitment because it motivates us to live the present as a time of responsibility and vigilance. This ‘vigilance’ means the necessity, the urgency of an industrious, living ‘wait’. To make all this happen, then we need to wake up, as we are warned by the apostle to the Gentiles, in today's reading to the Romans: ‘Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Rm 13:11).

We must start our journey to ascend to the mountain of the Lord, to be illuminated by His Words of peace and to allow Him to indicate the path to tread. (cf. Is 2:1-5). Moreover, we must change our conduct abandoning the works of darkness and put on the ‘armor of light’ and so seek only to do God’s work and to abandon the deeds of the flesh. (cf. Rm 13:12-14). Jesus, through the story in the parable, outlines the Christian life style that must not be distracted and indifferent but must be vigilant and recognize even the smallest sign of the Lord’s coming because we don’t know the hour in which He will arrive. (cf. Mt 24:39-44)

1 Pope Benedict XVI, Celebration of First Vespers of Advent, Vatican Basilica, December 2006

Excerpted from the website of Congregation for the Clergy

On the First Sunday of Advent, the traditional opening prayer (or Collect) prayed: "Stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come." With this request to God to "stir up" His might, this day was traditionally called Stir-Up Sunday. Many families create a traditional plum pudding or fruit cake or some other recipe that all the family and guests can "stir-up." This activity of stirring-up the ingredients symbolizes our hearts that must be stirred in preparation for Christ's birth.

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Jesse Tree ~ Creation


33 posted on 12/02/2012 3:34:35 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

1st Sunday of Advent

“They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud.” (Luke 21:27)

Don’t you find it strange that today’s Gospel reading would focus on the end times and not Christmas? But as confusing as this may seem at first, it really is appropriate. There are a lot of similarities between Christmas and the Second Coming.

First, there is the obvious similar­ity that both events are marked by the coming of Jesus. It’s true that he came as a baby at Christmas, and at the Second Coming, he will come as a conquering king. But in both instances, it’s still Jesus, the all-holy Son of God, who is breaking into our finite, limited world.

Second, in both instances Jesus comes to bring the kingdom of God. At Christmas, he came to inaugurate that kingdom through his preach­ing, his miracles, his death, and his resurrection. At the Second Coming, he will bring to fulfillment what he began at Christmas. All sin and suf­fering will be wiped away, and we will enter into eternal life with all the angels and saints.

Finally, both Christmas and the Second Coming are times of excite­ment mixed with awe. At Christmas, we hear angels singing, see a magnif­icent star, and watch Herod tremble with fear. At the Second Coming, the heavens will open to reveal Jesus, shining like the sun, and all who are opposed to him will face his judgment. Both are times of great hope that call us to examine our own lives.

So as Advent begins, think about who Jesus is for you. This little baby in a manger is also the Suffering Servant who gave up his life to set you free from sin and death. He is the Lord of all creation who is com­ing back to bring his faithful people to heaven. May God open our eyes this season, so that we can see Jesus in a new way and be transformed by what we see!

“Jesus, I want to dedicate this season to seeing you more fully. Come, Lord, and make me ready to greet you when you come again!”

Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14; 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2

 

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

1. The first reading opens with these words of great promise and warning: “The days are coming, says the Lord, …” As you prepare your hearts to celebrate Christmas this year, what steps can you take to receive the Lord into your life in a deeper way?

2. In the Responsorial Psalm, we ask God to “make known” to us his “ways,” to “teach” us his “paths”, and to “guide” us in his “truth” (Psalm 25:4-5). In what ways does God teach and reveal his intentions to you? What additional steps can you take each day, and especially during Advent, to be more attentive to his promptings?

3. In the second reading, St. Paul says that loving one another is the key to “being blameless in holiness” at the “coming of our Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13). Why is there such a strong relationship between love and being ready to receive Christ at his “coming”? What are some practical steps you can take to demonstrate more deeply Christ’s love, and your love, to your family and to others? In what way will this love in action help them to be more ready to receive Christ?

4. In the Gospel, we also hear words that speak of the signs that will arise at the end of the world, the final return of Christ. We are cautioned to be vigilant, so that day doesn’t catch us “by surprise like a trap” (Luke 21:34). Sin causes us not to be vigilant. What does being vigilant mean to you? What are some things you can do to root out areas of sin and temptation in your life?

5. The meditation begins by asking this question: “Don’t you find it strange that today’s Gospel reading would focus on the end times and not Christmas?” How would you describe the similarities between Christmas and the Second Coming?

6. Take some time now to pray that the Lord would use this Advent Season to prepare your heart to receive Him more deeply this Christmas, and when he comes again in glory. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.


34 posted on 12/02/2012 5:40:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
The Word Among Us

THE TIME WHEN JESUS CHRIST COMES AGAIN

(A biblical refection on the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT [Year C] – 2 December 2012) 

Gospel Reading: Luke 21:25-28,34-36 

First Reading: Jer 33:14-16; Psalms: Ps 25:4-5,8-10,14; Second Reading: 1Thess 3:12 – 4:2 

The Scripture Text

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 

“But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Lk 21:25-28,34-36 RSV) 

Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. The very word “Advent” means coming. But there are two comings of Jesus Christ: His first coming, when He was born of Mary in Bethlehem, and His second, when He will come again in glory at the end of time. And so the Church divides Advent into two parts.

The first part which begins today and goes until December 16, emphasizes preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ. The second part, from December 17 through Christmas eve, emphasizes preparation for the celebration of His birth.

Advent should be a joyful time, since expectation of a happy event is always a happy thing. Though the “Gloria” is not said in the Holy Mass, it is omitted not because we are sad or sorrowful, but only so that on Christmas our singing of this great song of the angels may in a certain sense be a new experience for us. Today we begin the joyful expectation of the final coming of Jesus Christ at the end of time.

There is, however, something of a problem here. The picture that many of us have of the final coming is, at best, short of joy. We have the idea that it will be a terrifying experience: a great, awesome cataclysm with the world engulfed in fire and the fearsome judge of all men calling us to account for the least wrong we have done. How can we be expected to want the end of the world, and to look forward to it? And yet the early Christians had an intense yearning for it. That is strange to our present outlook. If the early Christians looked forward to the end of the world, and we dread it, it seems obvious that our notion is different from theirs.

It is not surprising that we are troubled by the thought of the end of the world. In the Gospel we have just heard, St. Luke paints an awesome picture. Frankly, we are not quite sure what this picture means. The images in the Gospel are taken largely from the Old Testament, and they refer to a judgment by God. But God’s judgment destroys one thing only: sin, not goodness. And the world, the universe is good. That is the view the early Christians had. That there will be a change, even an upheaval, at the end of time seems clear, but not in the sense of the annihilation of the universe, but in the sense of the final fulfilment of all things in Jesus Christ. All sin, all evil will be removed from the universe by the coming of Jesus Christ.

Notice what Jesus says in the Gospel: “Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk 21:28). “Redemption” here refers not only to people, but to all of creation. Jesus saves us not by taking us out of the world and out of our own history, as if the world and all that men have done are evil. Rather His redemption purifies and perfects all created things. Complete redemption means that in Jesus Christ this universe will reach the purpose for which God created it, and in Jesus Christ all of human history will find its meaning and fulfilment. We do not know just how all this will happen any more than we know when it will happen.

There is much fear in our times that the whole world may just blow up through nuclear explosions. There is no guarantee that this will not occur. But we must not be afraid that God is going to lose control of His creation or that men through their foolish genius will upset God’s plans for the universe. Whatever may happen from the human angle, God will send His Son in glory again when He has decided that the time has come for the end of our present world. But that time will be a new beginning for all of creation, a time of perfection without sin. 

And, what of ourselves? Naturally, we live in hope that we will be part of that perfection without sin. And we will be, if we live according to the words of today’s Gospel: “Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life …… But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength …” (Lk 21:34,36). We will have confidence and joy if we try to live in accord with the prayer of St. Paul in today’s epistle: “May the Lord make you increase and bound in love to one another and to all men, …… so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus ……” (1Thess 3:12).

Today we begin a new Church year. During this year, we will celebrate all the saving events of the life of Jesus Christ. But today as we begin, we look to the end. We look to the completion of all the good that Jesus began by His life on this earth, a completion that will come only at the end of time.

Like the early Christians, we should have an intense yearning for the final coming of Jesus Christ. As we will pray in the Preface, we should “watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in His glory” (Preface of Advent I, the Sunday Missal [A New Edition], page 62).

Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, send Your Holy Spirit to renew Your Church. May we grow in faithfulness and godliness as we enter into this time of expectation. Revive us all with Your great power. Amen.


35 posted on 12/02/2012 5:51:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

ON GUARD

(A biblical refection on the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT [YEAR C] – 2 December 2012) 

First Reading: Jer 33:14-16; Psalms: Ps 25:4-5,8-10,14; Second Reading: 1Thess 3:12 – 4:2;  Gospel Reading: Lk 21:25-28,34-36 

In the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, England there is an exhibition of the memorabilia of Lord Dowding. He was appointed Commander in Chief of the RAF in 1936 to take on the challenge of expanding the RAF’s fighting force to meet the Nazi threat.

Dowding had less than four years to prepare the RAF for the epic Battle of Britain, while at the same time helping France as much as possible. Lord Dowding’s accomplishments in getting the RAF ready are summed up on a plaque: “It has been given to few men so to employ so short a time that by their efforts they saved civilization.”

Lord Dowding’s vigilance and preparation while waiting for the Nazi attempt to invade Great Britain played a key role in England’s victory in the early 1940’s. Vigilance and preparation while waiting are part of the theme of today’s Advent Gospel.

Jesus says: “Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness, and the cares of life, and that day will spring on you suddenly, like a trap … stay awake, praying at all times …”

Of course Jesus is not speaking about a military invasion or an impending war. He is speaking about His second coming in human history at the end of time. Yet the means of preparation are the same: we have to exercise vigilance, discipline ourselves and share with one another.

These same means are an excellent Advent preparation for Christmas, that celebration of Christ’s first coming in human history.

First, we must exercise vigilance. It is easy for us to become absorbed in our livelihood and to forget life, or to become preoccupied with our own private projects and to miss God’s great plan. That is why we must be vigilant, watch and pray.

Prayer opens our eyes to the presence of God. Prayer puts all things in proper perspective. Prayer implants peace in our hearts even in the midst of problems or poverty.

Second, we must exercise self-discipline. Without discipline we waste things: we waste our time; we waste our talents; we waste our natural resources. Self-discipline creates conditions for maximum effectiveness in the way we use our gifts.

By disciplining our minds, we grow in wisdom and knowledge. By disciplining our bodies, we develop strength and agility. By disciplining our appetites, we increase our capacity to enjoy and appreciate.

Only a person who is in possession of himself can give himself in love to another person. Only a person who is self-disciplined is truly free to seek and find Christ.

Third, we must have a spirit of sharing. When we experience shortages, sharing makes it tolerable and even joyful. When wealthy nations begin to share more with the Third World, peace on earth will become more of a reality.

Sharing does not diminish our wealth; it extends its usefulness. Sharing does not impoverish us; it enriches us with a deep sense of satisfaction. Sharing does not leave us empty-handed; it fills our lives with friendship and good feelings.

Let us not wait for another war to come before vigilance, discipline and sharing become important to us. Advent is an ideal time to develop these habits – not just in getting ready for Christ’s coming at Christmas – but also for his coming in our daily lives, at the time of our death and at the end of time.

When Lord Dowding was preparing the RAF for the war, he didn’t know how much time he had. We too don’t know how much time we have left to live – four years or forty years; four months or four hours. That doesn’t matter. May we be on guard and watching whenever the Lord comes.

Note: Taken from Albert Cylwicki, CSB, HIS WORD RESOUNDS, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 201-202.


36 posted on 12/02/2012 5:54:30 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for December 2, 2012:

(Advent begins)  “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.” (Lk 21:34) It’s fine to have fun, but how do you know if your drinking has crossed the line? Ask your spouse.


37 posted on 12/02/2012 6:07:07 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Sunday Scripture Study

First Sunday of Advent - Cycle C

December 2, 2012

Click here for USCCB readings

Opening Prayer  

First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Psalm: 25:4-5,8-10,14

Second Reading: 1 Thess 3:12—4:2

Gospel Reading: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

 

QUESTIONS:

Catechism of the Catholic Church: §§ 672, 2612, 2725, 2742-2745

 

There are three distinct comings of the Lord of which I know: His coming to men, His coming into men, and His coming against men.   –St. Bernard


38 posted on 12/02/2012 6:15:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Shopping for a Great Advent
Pastor’s Column
1st Sunday of Advent
December 2, 2012
 
Be aware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap….Be vigilant at all times and pray that you will have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.”
                                                          Luke 21:35-36
 
          Our lives on earth are brief, even for those of us who live a long time.   God gives each soul a precious window of life in which to grow in faith and good works by the choices we make in life. The beginning of Advent is a wonderful opportunity to stop for a moment and ask God to show us how our lives look in the light of eternity. To take up this Sunday’s gospel quoted above, when the day comes and I must stand before the Son of Man on the first day of my eternity, will I stand before him with confidence? What does this mean?
 
          These four weeks prior to Christmas can be extremely busy ones. Rather than being a good preparation for Christmas, God can be crowded out by all that we have to do! Others may find it a particularly lonely time. Still others will find themselves overindulging in food and drink and – dare I say it – shopping! But what does Christ want from us? What is my life really about? What is the best personal way to prepare for Christmas and my own eternity with the Lord (which is closer than we think)? 
 
          First, do I really know my strength and weaknesses, my virtues and sins? Often, they are hiding in plain sight – everyone knows us better than we know ourselves! Have I examined my life? Have I made a good confession? Going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the best spiritual investments you can make for Advent.
 
          Second, is my life out of balance somehow? Is there something, good in itself, that I may indulge in too much? Can I give up some time on my tablet, computer, phone or TV and offer this to God? Try putting your internet time on a timer, and promise yourself to stop when the allotted time is up. Otherwise the hours can go by, and we haven’t even begun to pray!
 
          Third, do I make time for prayer and scripture? Prayer is when I talk to God; Scripture is when he talks to me. If the Lord and you are not conversing regularly, your relationship is beginning to be estranged.
 
          Fourth, what do I do for others? How kind am I? Do I really listen when people speak to me? Am I committed to being a force for peace and goodness in the lives of others? Acquiring possessions like these will truly give us confidence before God.
                                                                  
                                                                                                Father Gary

39 posted on 12/02/2012 7:20:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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St. Paul Center Blog

Heads Up: Scott Hahn reflects on the 1st Sunday in Advent

Posted by Dr. Scott Hahn on 11.30.12 |


King of Glory

Every Advent, the Liturgy of the Word gives our sense of time a reorientation. There’s a deliberate tension in the next four weeks’ readings - between promise and fulfillment, expectation and deliverance, between looking forward and looking back.

In today’s First Reading, the prophet Jeremiah focuses our gaze on the promise God made to David, some 1,000 years before Christ. God says through the prophet that He will fulfill this promise by raising up a “just shoot,” a righteous offspring of David, who will rule Israel in justice (see 2 Samuel 7:16; Jeremiah 33:17; Psalm 89:4-5; 27-38).

Today’s Psalm, too, sounds the theme of Israel’s ancient expectation: “Guide me in Your truth and teach Me. For You are God my Savior and for You I will wait all day.”

We look back on Israel’s desire and anticipation knowing that God has already made good on those promises by sending His only Son into the world. Jesus is the “just shoot,” the God and Savior for Whom Israel was waiting.

Readings:
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Knowing that He is a God who keeps His promises lends grave urgency to the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel.

Urging us to keep watch for His return in glory, He draws on Old Testament images of chaos and instability – turmoil in the heavens (see Isaiah 13:11,13; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:10); roaring seas (see Isaiah 5:30; 17:12); distress among the nations (see Isaiah 8:22/14:25) and terrified people (see Isaiah 13:6-11).

He evokes the prophet Daniel’s image of the Son of Man coming on a cloud of glory to describe His return as a “theophany,” a manifestation of God (see Daniel 7:13-14).

Many will cower and be literally scared to death. But Jesus says we should greet the end-times with heads raised high, confident that God keeps His promises, that our “redemption is at hand,” that ‘the kingdom of God is near” (see Luke 21:31)


40 posted on 12/02/2012 7:31:32 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
1st Sunday of Advent -- Pay Attention!

 


"Stand erect and raise your heads"
 
Sunday Word: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/120212.cfm
 
 
Jer 33: 14-16
1 Ths 3: 12 – 4:2
Lk 21: 25-28, 34-36

There is a story told of a young boy named Sam who was marking his tenth birthday.  As a special gift his parents said they would like to take Sam out to dinner. He could choose the place and could invite a friend to come with him. Sam loved Chinese food so they decided on his favorite restaurant.  As often is the case, Sam ordered enough for leftovers to take home.

After dinner Sam, his parents and friend walked toward their parked car when a homeless man approached and asked for some money.  Sam immediately offered the man his entire package of left overs.  When they entered the car, Sam’s friend said, “That was amazing!  You made God proud by doing that.” Sam said to his friend, “Maybe that was God.”

And then there is the report of a New York Police Officer who just this past week offered a pair of warm woolen socks and new boots to a shivering shoeless man lying on the street. 

Such random acts of kindness are often highlighted this time of year. They do touch our hearts and remind us of what may be missing in our own busy lives. These are transformative actions which have the potential to change us and those who receive such kindness. Yet, in light of other news they fade quickly. Why is that - because kindness, compassion, and generosity generally don’t sell? Is it because we rarely hear of such moments of empathy? I contend we just don’t pay attention; such goodness is all around us. We seem to be moved far more by the violent, the mysterious, the dark and sinister.  Have you looked at the recent movie previews at your local Multi-plex theatre?

This yearly time of Advent is for us a moment which challenges the construct of our lives. Our Gospel this First Sunday of Advent from Luke 21 warns of, “. . . signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves . . .” A Hollywood movie director may say, “Bring it on! There’s a box office hit in the making.” For the “. . . Son of Man coming in the cloud with power and great glory. . .” as Jesus continues with apocalyptic images, is sure to add to the special effects drama.

In the midst of this warning, which really is a wake up call for us, we also hear Our Lord say, “. . . But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand . . . “That hardly sounds like we should be cowering in fear and trembling before such a display of natural power. It is almost a resurrection image which faces darkness and overcomes it with the greater power of faith and hope. For the early Christians, in the mist of persecution, such an image reminded them that Christ will not abandon them but will “stand erect” with them and be their Savior. What does it say to us today? We too need to hear but so much works against us.

We Americans are generally not a patient people.  When we are challenged to wait and watch we become unsettled. Who wants slow speed internet?  Who wants to wait in line at the grocery store or the fast food drive in lane? Isn’t this fast food? What's holding up this traffic? Move it along. Who enjoys waiting for a late guest to arrive? We live by sound bites and text messages. Taking time to pray, reflect, and wait patiently on the Lord’s grace in our lives may be just too much to endure.  God’s time is not our time and his view of things is not ours. “Stand erect” and wait for the Lord.

Secondly, we live in the future more than the present. Our recent Presidential race found one candidate using the slogan “Forward.” Forget about your lives as they are now and just think about the future possibilities. Anticipation makes us nervous but at least it gets our minds off the present.  I don’t have time for the homeless or hungry man who sits right before me now. Advent?  I need to send Christmas cards and put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving then take it down the day after Christmas.  

And third, we want to control everything. The burger slogan, “have it your way” and the song lyric “I’ll do it my way” are more than just sound bites. I think they reflect a central part of our modern day culture. We know the answers, the solutions, and the reasons why, and if we don’t, we eventually will, so who needs God? Religion just gets in the way and slows progress. Yet, our scriptures for this Advent season anticipate the future but remind us that we are not in control of our lives as much as we feel we are.

Jeremiah speaks, “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made . . . “This is a great promise of salvation to come, a gift from God in sending his Son in our midst which we recall at Christmas time. It is the promise of new life to come beyond our own puny human plans.  More, the Gospel reminds us that we have little control over many forces such as nature and the mind of God for the present and future.

But, it is our “righteous deeds” as we hear in the Collect of our Mass this Sunday, perhaps those random acts of kindness, which we do carry with us.  We have the good baggage of our lives that we collect over the years if only we be patient, pay attention to the moment we are in, and let God be Lord of our lives. Imagine a Christmas season and a new year if only we slow down and take the time to pay attention.

Christmas is coming for sure in less than four weeks but can we really wait and ponder?
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, 
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.

(Collect of 1st Advent)
Fr. Tim

41 posted on 12/02/2012 7:43:50 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

St. Andrew Novena to say from the Feast of St. Andrew until Christmas -- multiple times a day -- focuising us on the real meaning of Christmas.  Has anyone done this?

 

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.


42 posted on 12/02/2012 8:05:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Insight Scoop

Advent orients us to the heart of the Nativity

A Scriptural Reflection on the Readings for December 2, 2012, the First Sunday of Advent | Carl E. Olson

Readings:
• Jer 33:14-16
• Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
• 1 Thes 3:12-4:2
• Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

“We preach not one advent only of Christ,” wrote St. Cyril of Jerusalem in the fourth century, “but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave a view of His patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of a divine kingdom.”

The term “advent,” as we’ll see, is drawn from the New Testament, but when St. Cyril (named a Doctor of the Church in 1883 by Pope Leo XIII) was writing his famous catechetical lectures, the season of Advent was just starting to emerge in fledgling form in Spain and Gaul. During the fifth century, Christians in parts of western Europe began observing a period of ascetical practices leading up to the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany. Advent was observed in Rome beginning in the sixth century, and it was sometimes called the “pre-Christian Lent,” a time of fasting, more frequent prayer, and additional liturgies.

One of the prayers of the Roman missal from those early centuries says, “Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Thy only-begotten Son: that by His coming we may be able to serve him with purified minds.” This echoes today’s reading from St. Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, in which he exhorts them “to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.”

The Greek word used by St. Paul for “coming” is parousia, which means “presence” or “coming to a place.” The Vulgate translation of the phrase “the coming of our Lord Jesus” (1 Thess 3:13) is rendered “in adventu Domini.” The word parousia appears twenty-four times in the New Testament, almost always in reference to the coming or presence of the Lord. It appears in Matthew 24 four times, the only place the term appears in the Gospels; that chapter records the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ prophetic warnings about a coming time of trial, destruction, and “the coming of the Son of man” (Matt 24:27). Today’s Gospel reading, from Luke 21, is a parallel passage warning of distress, startling heavenly signs, and “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

What connection is there between the foment of earthly tribulation and cosmic upheaval, and preparations to celebrate Christ’s birth? If we consider the Christmas story cleared of sentimental wrappings, we see events as dramatic, raw, bloody, and joyous as can be imagined: the birth of Christ, the slaughter of the innocents, the praise of angels, the murderous rage of Herod. Christmas is about birth, but also death; about rejoicing, but also rejection. It is the story of God desired and God denied. It is the story every man has to encounter because it is the story of God’s radical plan of salvation, the entrance of divinity into the dusty ruts and twisting corridors of human history. 

Advent orients us to the heart of the Nativity—not in a merely metaphorical way, but through the reality of the liturgy, the Eucharist, the sacramental life of the Church. It is a wake-up call, perhaps even an alarm rousing us from “carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.” The birth of Christ caught many by surprise. Likewise, we can find ourselves trapped in the darkness of dull living and missing Christ’s call to raise our heads as salvation approaches.

“Advent calls believers to become aware of this truth and to act accordingly,” said Pope Benedict XVI in a homily marking the beginning of Advent in 2006. “It rings out as a salutary appeal in the days, weeks and months that repeat: Awaken! Remember that God comes! Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today, now!” Jesus told his disciples to be vigilant, prepared, and prayerful.

The same is true for his disciples today, so they might escape the tribulations of spiritual darkness and stand purified and prepared before the Son of Man, the son of Mary.

(This "Opening the Word" column appeared originally in the November 29, 2009, issue of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper.)


43 posted on 12/02/2012 8:21:07 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Regnum Christi

Make Ready, the Lord is Coming
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
First Sunday of Advent
 
Matthew Reinhardt, Consecrated Member of Regnum Christi

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples: "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."

Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, I gladly spend a few minutes with you, to be close to you, because you know how much I need your presence and grace in my life. You deserve to be the center of my thoughts and desires; but often I let myself be taken up by the anxieties of daily life. Sorry Lord, but at least here I am right now, hungry for you alone. Today, Lord, I accompany the whole Church as we begin the Advent Season and begin to prepare for your coming to earth as a baby on Christmas morning.

Petition: Lord, prepare my heart for your coming at Christmas.

1. The World Then and Now: When Christ came to earth 2,000 years ago he encountered a world similar to the one we live in: far from God and full of anxiety. The lives of many people of Christ’s time were devoid of meaning because God had not yet sent his Son into the world. Today, as then, our world often lives as if Christ had never come to earth. But hope is not lost.  Christ is our hope! Is my life full of meaning rooted in Christ’s saving message, or do I permit worries and selfish desires to choke my spirit?

2. Christ Is Coming: Advent and Christmas are all about Christ coming to earth to give us hope. On that cold, quiet, star-filled winter’s night in a little, poor cave in Bethlehem, God was born into our world. The Almighty came into the world as a small, poor, innocent baby adored only by his mother and father and some animals. Yes, this child is the reason for our hope, infinite hope, because he is an infinite God making an infinite act of love for us. To permit my soul to be filled with this quiet, gentle hope, what noise within my heart first needs to be shut off?

3. A Heart Checkup: Surprises can be pleasant, like an unexpected birthday party or a successful close on a big business deal. But they can also be unpleasant, like the pop quiz given at school or a sudden car accident. Will Christmas take me by surprise this year? The good news is that I know that he is coming: less than a month away. Christ tells us, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy and thus allow that day to catch you by surprise.” Advent is a time to wake up to Christ in our life. We need to prepare our hearts for his coming on Christmas morning so that he can be received by us with warmth and joy. Christ is the reason for the season!

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me during this Advent Season, which begins today, to see that the priority in my life is preparing myself and those around me for a truly “spiritual” Christmas. I know it is a busy time of year. Help me remain focused on what is essential -- you being born into our hearts.

Resolution: I will begin some form of daily Advent reminder for myself and those I live with so we can prepare our hearts for Christmas: Advent wreath, Advent calendar, Jesse Tree etc.


44 posted on 12/02/2012 9:02:37 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

The Centurion

 

by Food For Thought on December 3, 2012 ·

The centurion was perhaps a Syrian, certainly a pagan, an officer in the Roman military. He was clearly a good person, an admirable man.
Yet this foreigner must have respected and cared about his Jewish serving boy so much that he wanted him relieved of the “dreadful suffering.” Furthermore he was willing to open himself to the censure of his superiors and to the behind-the-back remarks of his associates and subordinates by begging humbly to this wandering Jewish healer to cure his Jewish serving boy. But what really astounded Jesus was the solidity and firmness of the man’s faith.

Has Jesus found faith like this among us? Advent is a time for strengthening our own faith. It’s a time when we renew our faith and trust in Jesus. Perhaps if we work at strengthening our faith, we will be pleased to hear Jesus speak of us, although not as fulsomely as he spoke of the centurion, “I have seen your faith grow.”

Reflecting on today’s Gospel, what hope does this story give us, in our faith and in our relationship with Jesus?


45 posted on 12/02/2012 9:18:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Scripture Speaks: 1st Sunday of Advent

Scripture Speaks: 1st Sunday of Advent

Gayle Somers

by Gayle Somers on November 30, 2012 · 

On this first Advent Sunday, our readings direct us to the Lord’s Second Coming, not His first.  Why?

Gospel (Read Lk 21:25-28, 34-36)

We must know the context of our Gospel reading today to truly understand its meaning.  Earlier in the chapter (see Lk 21:20-24), Jesus describes for His disciples a catastrophic event that will take place within their lifetimes (see vs. 32).  Jerusalem and its Temple would be destroyed by “the Gentiles.”  Those days would be filled with horror.  The Christians were to “flee to the mountains” when they see the city surrounded by armies.  This must have given the disciples, all Jews, a jolt.  Leave the holy city of Jerusalem when it is attacked?  How could any devout Jew do this?  Surely this instruction from Jesus was the first hint that the relationship Jewish believers had with the Old Covenant was about to undergo a dramatic change.  [Note:  We know from extra-biblical historical writings that the Jewish Christians did flee when the Romans arrived, because of these words of Jesus; they all survived the assault.]

Jesus described the destruction of the city and the Temple in the language and symbolism of Old Testament prophecies that had foretold the first time God visited His judgment that way on His people, at the time of the Babylonian Exile.  It is important to recognize this.  The apocalyptic language, so familiar to His disciples, helped them understand that the coming catastrophe was a judgment against Jerusalem for its rejection of the Messiah.  That was why believers were to flee.  The Old Covenant was coming to an end; the New Covenant would take its place.  When the Romans encircled and sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D., destroying forever the Old Temple, they were actually agents of God’s just judgment on His faithless, disobedient people.

So, why are we thinking about all this history on the first Sunday of Advent?  A quote from the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (pg 60) might help:

Like many religions in the Near East, the Israelites regarded their Temple as a miniature replica or microcosm of the world; it was an architectural model of the universe fashioned by God.  Conversely, the universe itself was a macrotemple, where God also dwells with His people.  This is best summarized by the Psalmist, “He built His sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which He has founded forever” (Ps 78:69)…These considerations help make sense of Jesus’ words in their historical context.  With the dawning of the New Covenant, God had to clear away the central symbol of the Old Covenant, the Temple.  The Church is God’s new and spiritual Temple, built with the living stones of Christian believers (Mt. 16:18, Eph 2:20-22; 1 Pet 2:4-5).  In this light, the devastation of the Temple and the judgment of Israel in A.D. 70 can be seen as an overture to greater things.  That is, the termination of the Old Covenant world prefigures the destruction of the universe, God’s macrotemple, and the judgment of all nations by Christ (cf. 2 Pet 3:5-7).  Thus, Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (Mt 24-25) is initially fulfilled in the first century as He said (Mt 24:34).  But imbedded in Christ’s words are spiritual truths that point forward to His Second Coming in glory and the end of the visible world.

The destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 points forward to the return of Jesus at the end of time—at an hour we do not know.  So, just as Israelwaited many centuries for the first Advent of Jesus, we are now waiting for His second Advent.  The Church gives us a whole season to ponder this.  Therefore, we should pay close attention to what Jesus tells His disciples as they had to wait for the coming time of tribulation, for we are likewise in need of His instruction:  “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.”  We should notice that His concern for His followers is not food and weapons shortages, vigilante groups to ward off the Romans, or political posturing.  No, He wants their hearts to be unencumbered.  He wants them to be “vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent.”  The preparations He urges on His followers are spiritual, not physical.  This is our Advent work.  We have four weeks to check our hearts for distractions, entanglements, and preoccupations that cloud our minds and siphon our energy away from growth in faith, hope, and love—the only preparation that will enable us to “stand before the Son of Man” when, once again, He comes to a people who long to see His face.

Possible response:  Lord Jesus, in so much of my life, I seem to be waiting for something.  Advent reminds me I’m waiting for You!

First Reading (Read Jer 33:14-15)

Jeremiah was a prophet who had to deliver to the Jews the terrible news of God’s first judgment on Jerusalem and the Temple, in about the 6th century B.C.  However, in this reading, God makes a remarkable promise that is full of hope:  “I will raise up for David a just shoot… In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure.”  Did God keep this promise?   We know that Jerusalem and the Temple were both destroyed within a generation of Jesus’ prophetic announcement.  Because of how Judah’s history unfolded, we know that the fulfillment of this promise was much deeper than the protection of a territory or a building.  Jesus, the “just shoot” of David, reigns now over a new Jerusalem, which is the Church.  He and all who are baptized into Him form the new Temple, where true worship of God takes place.  The season of Advent reminds us that we are still waiting for the full manifestation of this triumphant Kingdom.  It is present in the world now in a veiled way, but someday, all creation will see and exclaim, “The LORD our justice.”

Possible response:  Heavenly Father, our long wait for the return of Your Son is not “if” He comes, but “when.”  Thank You for always keeping Your promises.

Psalm (Read Ps 25:4-5, 8-10, 14)

This psalm gives crystal clarity to what our preparation is to be as we wait for the Day of the Lord:  “Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and for You I wait all the day.”  Our focus in this time of waiting is always to be on God and His will for our lives—this day, this hour.  If we ponder this psalm, it will protect us from indifference, sloth, and self-satisfaction as we wait.  It will also keep us from wasting energy on wondering how prepared others are for that Day—always a temptation.  Sometimes we can look at our culture, our neighbors, and even our family members with an eye of judgment.  We worry about the sin of others rather than our own.  During this Advent, we can resolve to work only on ourselves; our antiphon is an excellent Advent prayer:  “To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”

Possible response:  The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings.  Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read 1 Thess 3:12-4:2)

Context will help us understand this reading, as it did with our Gospel.  This is the earliest epistle written by St. Paul in the New Testament.  It is addressed to a church he established after he preached the Gospel in Thessalonica on one of his missionary journeys.  It is full of instructions for daily living for new converts.  It is deeply pastoral in nature.  These new Christians had many questions, especially about the Second Coming of Jesus.  At least once in every chapter, St. Paul mentions the return of Jesus in glory.

When we know this, we can take note of the emphasis in the verses of our reading—it is entirely on growing in holiness.  A true, sound preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming, whenever it happens, always includes striving to “increase and abound in love for one another and for all… to be blameless in holiness… at the coming of our Lord Jesus.”  This emphasis is consistent with Jesus’ teaching in our Gospel.  We are not to bog down in timetables, in discerning supernatural or cosmic signs, political machinations, or idleness as we wait for Jesus to come for us.  No, we should make every effort to conduct ourselves “to please God.”

Advent gives us a fresh start on a new year of preparation.  May we use it wisely.

Possible response:  Lord Jesus, help me welcome another year in which to know and love You and to love others for Your sake.


46 posted on 12/02/2012 9:21:47 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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First Sunday of Advent: The Reason for the Season

First Sunday of Advent: The Reason for the Season

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.

by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. on November 30, 2012 ·

“Advent” is simply the Latin word for “coming.”  If we can manage to meditate on any “coming” in December besides the comings and goings of Christmas shopping, it would be Christ’s coming to Mary in a stable

But the liturgy of the first three weeks of Advent speaks of another coming, the second and final coming of Jesus at the end of time.

 

From the earliest days of the Church, people have been fascinated by Jesus’ promise to come back.  Many have claimed to recognize the signs of his imminent return and even have tried to predict the actual date.  They’ve had some explaining to do when he failed to show up as forecast.

I have news for you.  I am absolutely certain that we, today, are truly living in the last days.  How do I know?  Because we’ve been living in the last days since Jesus has ascended into heaven (1 John 2:18, 1 Peter 4:7).

When is Jesus coming back?  That’s the wrong question.   The last trumpet, Jesus riding on the clouds–is all this to be taken symbolically or literally?  Wrong question again.

Have you heard the joke about the young priest who rushes into the pastor’s office and says “The Lord has been spotted walking up the aisle of the church.  What do we do?”

The pastor looks up with alarm and says: “For God sake, Father, look busy!”

We should not be wasting our time fantasizing and theorizing about dates, or the nature of the rapture or the final tribulation.  This is a distraction.  Rather, we are not just to look busy but actually be busy preparing the way for his return.

That means being prepared and ready, not weighted down, neutralized, and utterly distracted by the cares of this world (Luke 21: 34-36).  It means, as Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 3, to work to make greater progress in the life of holiness, “putting on” the character of Christ.   It also means preparing the way by calling others to faith in Christ, since all baptized Catholics are called to be evangelizers.

The second coming of Christ, like the first, involves a birth.  Only this time, it will be the birth of a new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Romans 8:19-23; CCC 1042).  Birth is always preceded by labor and travail.  In fact birth is a sort of crisis that puts everyone involved to the test.  The labor pains to bring one baby to birth are intense enough.  Imagine the labor pains prior to the birth of a whole new creation!

With all due respect to the Left Behind fantasies, faithful Christians won’t be spared the tribulation preceding His final coming any more than Mary and Joseph were spared the tribulations surrounding his first coming (CCC 672, 1 Cor 7:26).  The idea of a secret rapture snatching Christians away from what the Catechism calls “the final cosmic upheaval” (CCC 677) appears nowhere in the Bible or tradition.  It is an idea concocted by a sectarian Protestant teacher in the 19th century and was immediately rejected as dangerous by other Protestant pastors.

Why?  Because if we think we’ll be exempted from suffering, then why prepare for it?  And when crisis does in fact come, we may buckle under the pressure.

But doesn’t all this talk of tribulation put a damper on the festive holiday spirit?

Are parents any less excited about the birth of their first child because they may have to take a Lamaze class or talk to the doctor about pain meds and caesarian sections?  There is no birth without labor.  So as we rejoice in hope over the imminent new arrival, perhaps we ought to do everything possible to make sure that the labor goes successfully.  That way there’ll be something to rejoice about.

And we better not dilly-dally.  It could be any day now.


47 posted on 12/02/2012 9:24:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

 


<< Sunday, December 2, 2012 >> First Sunday of Advent
 
Jeremiah 33:14-16
1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2

View Readings
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

 

MARANATHA!

 
"The days are coming..." —Jeremiah 33:14
 

A new Church year begins with the season of Advent. How can we start this Church year off on the right foot?

Human ventures begin with human efforts and plans. The Church, however, is led by Jesus, the Head of the Church (Col 1:18), and so the Church is both human and divine (Catechism, 779). Therefore, God initiates and we follow Him.

Here are some keys to the success of this Church year:

  • Will we vigilantly and patiently listen to the Lord each day for His "instructions"? (1 Thes 4:2)
  • Will we receive God's plans in a spirit of docility and joyful submission?
  • Will we cooperate with God's plans or block them through our resistance or by moving ahead without Him?
  • Will we "learn to make still greater progress" in living for Jesus? (1 Thes 4:1)
  • Will we "conduct [ourselves] in a way pleasing to God"? (1 Thes 4:1)
  • Will we "be on guard lest [our] spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares"? (Lk 21:34)
  • Will we be "blameless and holy"? (1 Thes 3:13)

The Lord's plans for the Church and for us are far "more than we ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20). His "will be done" (Mt 6:10).

 
Prayer: Father, give us "the strength to escape whatever is in prospect" (Lk 21:36).
Promise: "The friendship of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and His covenant, for their instruction." —Ps 25:14
Praise: Alleluia! Jesus is risen! Jesus will come again! Come, Lord Jesus!

48 posted on 12/02/2012 9:33:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayer for the Helpless Unborn

fetus at 11 weeks

Heavenly Father, in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil,

those helpless little ones to whom You have given the gift of life.

Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today

 who are not thinking of motherhood.

Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image

 - as well as theirs - made for eternal life.

Dispel their fear and selfishness and give them true womanly hearts

to love their babies and give them birth

and all the needed care that a mother can give.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord,

Who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit,

One God, forever and ever. Amen.


49 posted on 12/02/2012 9:34:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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http://resources.sainteds.com/showmedia.asp?media=../sermons/homily/2012-12-02-Homily%20Deacon%20James%20Herrera.mp3&ExtraInfo=1&BaseDir=../sermons/homily


50 posted on 12/09/2012 6:13:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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