23 December 2017

Daniel Jang: "Veni, Veni" ("O Come, O Come Emmanuel")

As this blessed week draws to a close, I offer this version of Daniel Jang presenting "Veni, Veni" ("O Come, O Come Emmanuel"):

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of family Christmas celebration customs.

Nathan Stone on Coming to the Defense of Santa Claus

"When I was attending Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas - the precise year and semester, I have forgotten - I met the first opposition to Santa Claus. I had known that there were people who did not believe in the 'Christmas Man'; my parents had explained to me that such people did exist in the world. But the opposition I met at college from among some of my fellow students was different. It was not unbelief; it was the idea that the 'jolly old elf' was somehow destructive of the Catholic mentality. The way it was explained to me by several people - including an old girlfriend - was that Santa took attention and emphasis away from Jesus. All the talk of the North Pole, elves, the toyshop, the list of good and bad children, the sled and the reindeer and the Christmas Eve flight around the world diverted eyes and hearts away from the 'reason for the season' and, as such, was best left in the rubbish heap along with the discarded remains of the Christmas tree. St. Nicholas was a different story. He, being an actual, historical person, a bishop of Myra, and an attendant of the Nicaean Council, was perfectly welcome as just another member of the communion of saints.

"Just recently, I stumbled upon a kindred point of view in an essay by Joseph Pearce. Mr. Pearce declared that while he had no qualms about Father Christmas, he could not be at ease with Santa and any attempts to equate the jolly elf with the regal figure of Father Christmas, did not quite know the difference between the two; as Mr. Pearce said, one is British and the other American which, despite some similarities are two very different things.

"With all due deference to Mr. Pearce, I believe that he is mistaken. It is true that the personage of Father Christmas is much older than his counter-part in America but then that should only be expected since England is older than the United States. The first appearance of Father Christmas has disappeared as fully as the grass after the first snow whereas the appearance of Santa Claus can be pinpointed to Clement Moore's 'T'was the Night Before Christmas.' Despite these differences, it can be said that Father Christmas and Santa Claus are, in a sense, the same, just different aspects or appearances of the same person, much as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Japan all appear different but are all simply different appearances of Our Lady. In the case of Santa Clause and Father Christmas, both are appearances of St. Nicholas."

In a recent commentary, writer Nathan Stone reflected on the mythology of Santa Claus as a natural means of expanding wonder, leading to the conclusion that, because "he is a guise of St. Nicholas and because he is a real myth, there should be no qualms in regards to teaching children to believe in Santa Claus."

To access Mr. Stone's complete post, please visit:

Crisis Magazine: In Defense of Santa Claus (22 DEC 17)

Reflection Starter from Henry Ward Beecher

"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs - jolted by every pebble in the road." - Henry Ward Beecher

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for the gift of wonder.

Elizabeth Anderson on Wisdom, Wonder, and Children at Christmas

"At Christmas time so many magnificent events occur, leading up to and highlighting the Cause of our celebrations. Buildings of every kind find themselves bedecked in light and nature's green; families plant a veritable representative of the forest in their homes, and then proceed to drape it in every brilliance and finery imaginable. And then, in the darkest days of winter, Churchgoers of every denomination gather in their places of worship to offer homage to a tiny God. Nonetheless, years of experiencing the labors and sorrows of the world, as well as the repetition of Christmas traditions can dull the soul's perception of these joys. Sometimes it takes the hilarious glee of children to remind the rest of us that reality truly is a marvel beyond telling. In God or Nothing, Robert Cardinal Sarah comments: 'It is important for baptized Catholics to keep the beautiful, holy joy of little children.' Indeed, the wonder of children at Christmas offers a wise glimpse into the very real wonder of the Truth to which we have grown accustomed."

In a recent commentary, writer Elizabeth Anderson reflected on the example of wisdom and wonder offered by children at Christmas.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Crisis Magazine: The Wisdom in Wonder: Children at Christmas Time (20 DEC 17)

22 December 2017

21 December 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You touch the hearts of those who view (and reflect on) Nativity scenes.

Fr. Victor Feltes on the Ox, the Ass, and the First Manger Scene

"In the year 1223 A.D., about two weeks before Christmas and three years before his death, St. Francis of Assisi shared an innovative idea with a beloved friend: 'I want to do something that will recall the memory of that child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with bodily eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and ass stood by.' With Pope Honorius III's approval and his generous friend's help, everything was ready for Christmas Eve."

In a recent commentary, Father Victor Feltes (pastor of Saint Wenceslaus Parish, Eastman, WI) reflected on the creatures Saint Francis included at the crib of Jesus and on their importance to those who view the Nativity scenes.

To access Fr. Feltes' complete reflection, please visit:

Parishable Items: The Ox, the Ass, & the First Manger Scene (20 DEC 17)

Reflection Starter from G. K. Chesterton

"When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." - G. K. Chesterton

20 December 2017

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor

It's time for some classical music. This is a presentation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Leonard Bernstein):

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of good dramatic presentations, whether presented live or recorded (e.g., via movies, television, or radio).

A Saintly Advent Journey

Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas, recalling the hope surrounding Christ's first coming and looking forward to His second coming, when all things will be fulfilled in Him. During this time, we should feel like we are on a journey away from the bondage of worldliness and towards the fulfillment of our deepest and purest desires. One of the most important ways to bring this journey to life within our hearts is to pray for guidance, protection, and intercession along the way, and there are certain Saints that are particularly appropriate to call upon, with life stories to inspire us as we prepare ourselves for Christmas.

In an article for Catholic Exchange, journalist Stephen Beale lists his "Top Ten Saints for Advent" and explains how aspects of their stories relate to this period of expectation. For instance, St. Francis of Assisi installed the first nativity scene, using real life animals and a life-sized manger. He wanted to ignite devotion to the faith, and his actions remind us that this is indeed a time for us to create beautiful commemorations to the miracle of Christ's birth.

Another saint devoted to reminding others of the importance of Christ was John the Baptist, only his was a prophetic call sounded even before Christ began His ministry. John's story reminds us that we all have a unique purpose in life. His purpose was so clear to him from the very beginning that he actually leapt in his mother Elizabeth's womb upon being in the presence of the unborn Christ in Mary's womb.

Other saints that Beale highlights for their significance during Advent are St. John of the Cross for his meditation on the Dark Night of the Soul, a time when we wait in anxious expectation to be calmed by the peace of Christ; St. Martin of Tours, whose feast day was once a Mardi-Gras-like kick-off to start Advent; St. Nicholas, whose legend has grown around Christmas but who was also known as a strong defender of the faith; St. Lucy, who endured a torture that left her blind and is now remembered in connection to the Christmas imagery of Jesus as the light of the world; St. Therese of Lisieux, who was devoted to the Child Jesus; and St. Teresa of Avila, who was devoted to St. Joseph.

And that brings us to the two most important saints to remember during Advent: Mary and Joseph. Beale calls Mary "the ultimate Christian believer," who experienced the intense joy of being close to Christ and who also weathered the turmoil that surrounded His life. Reflecting on St. Joseph, Beale references an Advent sermon given by St. Bernard of Clairvaux on the special relationship between Joseph and Jesus. Bernard highlighted that God trusted Joseph to "carry in his arms, to lead by the hand, to nourish and to watch over the Infant Savior."

No two people could have experienced the anticipation of Christ's birth more profoundly than Mary and Joseph. Imagine the responsibility they knew they were preparing themselves for - and then realize that God is calling you to that same responsibility. Advent is a time to prepare ourselves to welcome the Child Jesus in all His vulnerability into our lives and to see Christ in all those entrusted to us in their most vulnerable moments. When we do that, we have walked in the footsteps of the saints in preparing ourselves for Christ, and it is a journey that will not disappoint. 

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column, written by Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M, of The Christophers' Board of Directors; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.)

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter

"A rabbi and a soapmaker were walking together. The soapmaker said, 'What good is religion? Look at all the trouble and misery of the world! Still there, even after years - thousands of years - of teaching about goodness and truth and peace; still there, after all the prayers and sermons and teachings; if religion is supposed to be good and true, why can this be?'

"The rabbi said nothing, deep in thought. they continued walking until the rabbi noticed children playing. Then the rabbi said, 'Look at those children. You say that soap makes children clean, but see the dirt on those children? Of what good is soap? With all the soap in the world, over all these years, the children are filthy. I wonder how effective soap is, after all?'

"The soapmaker was quick to protest, 'But, Rabbi, soap cannot do any good unless it is used often.'

"'Exactly!' replied the rabbi." - Source Unknown

19 December 2017

Jennie Lee Riddle and Robbie Seay: "O Come, Divine Messiah"

As we continue to live this week, I offer this version of Jennie Lee Riddle and Robbie Seay presenting "O Come, Divine Messiah":

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of smiles.

Dwight Duncan on Hoping Rather than Worrying During Advent

"We are now in the blessed season of Advent, when we wait eagerly to receive our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into our hearts on Christmas, as he was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, and will come again at the end of time to mercifully judge the living and the dead. Hope is the characteristic virtue of the season, as it is the confident expectation, based on Jesus our Redeemer, to be happy with him forever in heaven, as he promised his faithful followers.

"Our hope, then, is in God and not in ourselves or our human resources. It is only if we place our hope in lesser things like money, power, success or health that we have grounds for discouragement and anxiety. Specifically, a number of modern saints have repeatedly urged us to not worry, because they had their priorities straight."

In a recent commentary, Professor Dwight G. Duncan (University of Massachusetts School of Law Dartmouth), offered some saintly advice on hopeful trust in the Lord, especially during these challenging times.

To access Dr. Halper's complete essay, please visit:

The Pilot: Echoes: Dwight G. Duncan: Hoping rather than worrying during Advent (8 DEC 17)

Reflection Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

18 December 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of each new day.

Bishop Tobin on His Mother's Christmas Cookies.

"My mom loved Christmas. Each year it quickened her step and lifted her spirits, creating a lot of activity in the little house in which we lived.

"For example, after my dad died, the task of putting up the single string of lights around our front porch fell to me. They were the old-fashioned, large, multi-colored bulbs we used to know. But I remember so clearly, that as I climbed the ladder to string the lights my mom would invariably start to sing in a soft, lilting voice, 'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.' It happened every year.
My mom liked to write Christmas cards to family, friends and neighbors, especially to long-time friends she hadn't seen in a while. And she really looked forward to receiving them too.

"And for many years she dutifully gave $5 to each of my ten nieces and nephews, even when they were grown adults. When, at one point I suggested that maybe it was time to increase the gift, perhaps to $10, she looked at me like I had just shot Santa Claus. Her Christmas gift was $5, and that was that!

"But most of all, my mom loved to bake Christmas cookies, an event which took over our kitchen and dining room for a couple of weeks before the holiday. At her peak she made about 200 dozen cookies I think. Her traditional list included Russian Tea Cakes, thumbprints, spritzes, gingerbread men (each individually wrapped) and her specialty, sugar cookies - rolled thin because my dad liked them that way - and cut with old-fashioned, metal cookie cutters, into Santas, stars, stockings, bells and wreathes, and finished-off with homemade icing, and, on some, sprinkles."

In a recent commentary, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence (RI), re-shared a reflection on his mother's Christmas cookies and their relationship to the mystery of Christmas..

To access Bishop Tobin's complete essay, please visit:

Without A Doubt: My Mom’s Christmas Cookies (14 DEC 17)

ote: Bishop Tobin recently celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination as bishop. Congratulations, Bishop Tobin!!!

Reflection Starter from Og Mandino

""Henceforth, each morning, I will awake and fall on my knees and give thanks to God for the gift that only he can bestow – a new day.…I am grateful for this fresh opportunity. I will show my gratitude in everything I do, this day. How fortunate I am to be here." - Og Mandino (in The Choice)

17 December 2017

"Hark! A Herald Voice Is Calling"

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this version of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, UK, presenting "Hark! A Herald Voice Is Calling":

Third Sunday of Advent

Today the Church celebrates the Third Sunday of Advent. The assigned readings are Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; and John 1:6-8. 19-28. The Responsorial Psalm is from Luke 1 (Luke 1:46-50, 53-54).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, "Who are you?"

He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, "I am not the Christ."

So they asked him, "What are you then? Are you Elijah?"

And he said, "I am not."

"Are you the Prophet?"

He answered, "No."

So they said to him, "Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?"

He said: "I am 'the voice of one crying out in the desert, 'make straight the way of the Lord,'' as Isaiah the prophet said."

Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?"

John answered them, "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie."

This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Reflections on these readings:

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Salesian Sunday Reflections: Third Sunday of Advent (December 17, 2017)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Third Sunday of Advent (December 17, 2017)

Community in Mission: Sweet, Beautiful, Soul-Saving Joy - A Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent (16 DEC 17)

Aleteia: Deacon Greg Kandra: Not that far from Bethlehem: Homily for December 17, 2017, Gaudete Sunday (16 DEC 17) 

The Sacred Page: Rejoice! It's Gaudete Sunday! (3th Sun. of Advent) (14 DEC 17)

The Sacred Page: Who Was John the Baptist? (The Mass Readings Explained) (11 DEC 17)

St. Paul Center: One Who is Coming: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Advent

Word on Fire: Rejoice, Pray, Give Thanks (Cycle B * Advent * Week 3)

Spirituality of the Readings: Holy Darkness (Third Sunday in Advent B)

In Exile: The Mystical Body (Third Sunday in Advent B

Let the Scriptures Speak: The Discipline of Joy (Third Sunday in Advent B)

The Word Embodied: Gaudete: Rejoice (Third Sunday in Advent B

Historical Cultural Context: A Different Kind of Priest (Third Sunday in Advent B)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary by John Scotus Erigena (Third Sunday in Advent B

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many graces You bestow on us as we face the challenges before us each day.

Msgr. Pope on Looking for Christ in Advent

"During Advent we are reminded to look to Christ and ask for His presence in our life so that we can become deeper, brighter, and richer by His grace. One of our unfortunate tendencies is to be dismayed by the world around us. We must be soberly aware of both the events and conditions in our world - sober, not drunk with excessive attention on 24/7 news feeds. 

"In our spiritual lives, too, we ought to be careful not to become consumed with lesser things and end up 'majoring in all the minors.' We should be soberly grateful for signs and wonders such as the Shroud of Turin, the miraculous Tilma of Guadalupe, and the approved apparitions of our Lady. Special appreciation was given this past year to Our Lady of Fatima and to how presciently she set forth the struggles of our current age. Our Lady of Akita (Japan) also spoke very accurately to the current travails in the Church. 

"Here, too, sober gratefulness does not mean being drunk with an excessive preoccupation with the details of apparitions, miracles, and messages. Indeed, our Lady's most basic message always boils down to this: Listen to my Son and do whatever He tells you. The basic meat and potatoes, the pure wine of the Christian, is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to look to Him, listen to Him, and judge everything by what He has taught us through His apostles in the New Testament and the teachings of the Church."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the importance of looking to and listening to Christ as we face the challenges of this world and on the importance of not being "dismayed by the roaring and raging of this world" because "Christ has already conquered."

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Community in Mission: Look for Christ in Advent and Do Not Be Dismayed (12 DEC 17)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"Christians are called to work concretely in the realities of this world, illuminating them with the light that comes from God." - Pope Francis

16 December 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You call each of us to a personal relationship with You.

Archbishop Chaput on Advent as a Season of Prayer and Witness

"Advent is a wonderful time of year.  It's that special season when families huddle together around the TV (or alone, on their various devices) to watch hundreds of greed-inspiring ads and listen to Xmas carols with rewritten lyrics that sell lottery tickets, and cars, and smartphones.

"That's Option A.  Option B is this:  We can make Advent 2017 something much deeper and much better.  We can live it as the season was meant to be lived.

"C.S. Lewis, the great Christian scholar and storyteller of the last century, had a particular dislike for the yearly pagan blowout called 'Xmas' (now 'the holidays' - even Xmas was too religious for mass marketing purposes).  Lewis wasn't a Scrooge, and he certainly knew the beauty and joy of gift-giving rooted in love.  But he always led his readers to remember what Advent and Christmas are actually about. . . .

"The joy in Christmas ('Christ-Mass') has its source in the birth of Jesus Christ, redeemer of man.  Advent, the start of the new Church year, is the preface or prequel to that world-changing event.  It readies our hearts to receive the Child Jesus at Bethlehem, and also Jesus the Son of God and Lord of history at the end of time.  It's a season to reflect, repent, put aside our sins and failures, and begin again in hope as true disciples."

In a recent commentary, Archbishop Charles Chaput, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, reflected on Christian life as a balance of contemplation (prayer, worship, and the sacraments) and action and on the place of our celebration of Advent in this balance.

To access Archbishop Chaput's complete column, please visit:

Archdiocese of Philadelphia: Archbishop Chaput’s Weekly Column: The Season of Prayer and Witness (11 DEC 17)

Reflection Starter from St. John Paul II

"The liturgy of Advent…helps us to understand fully the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, it is necessary to understand that the whole of our life must be an 'advent,' a vigilant awaiting of the final coming of Christ. To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously." - Pope Saint John Paul II

06 December 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of candles.

Advent's Call to Wait in Joyful Hope

The holiday season is upon us once again! That means we'll soon be buying gifts, decorating the tree, and maybe attending a Christmas party or two. But as great as those things are, we don't want them to distract us from the Christ-centered nature of the season. That’s why it's so important to make time in our schedules to prayerfully observe Advent.

I recently interviewed two authors whose books of daily reflections, prayers, and meditations are specifically designed to help you do just that. Mary DeTurris Poust, communications director for the diocese of Albany, penned Waiting in Joyful Hope, while Sister Kathryn Hermes, along with several of her fellow Pauline sisters, authored Advent Christmas Grace.

For DeTurris Poust, Advent doesn't come easy. It requires slowing down, she said, "and I'm not a very patient person. I talk fast, I walk fast, I like everything to happen now. Learning [to slow down] has been important for me, and I'm still working on it."

Both authors note the importance of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) on the way they put together their books. It's not a passive experience, but rather a deliberate effort to enter the Scriptures and see how God is trying to communicate with us today. That can be especially important for people enduring pain and struggles during the holiday season. Sister Kathryn advised, "I often suggest walking into the stable with your pain, kind of like the little drummer boy...Walk into the Scriptures with your pain, and imagine picking up the Christ child or sitting next to Mary or Joseph and allowing the presence of Jesus to touch you. The words that are in these books are powerful, and they can give us new thoughts and new direction. The Holy Spirit can speak through them and open up a new door into our hearts, especially for people who are carrying the pain of loss, depression or failure. You've got to bring your own reality into these books and allow Jesus to meet you where you are."

DeTurris Poust knows that we can miss the relevance of the Christmas story to our modern lives because we've heard it so many times. Entering the story ourselves can make a difference in how we respond. She says, "We ought to think about Mary hearing this message [from the angel Gabriel]. She was greatly troubled. She had to contemplate that. Then moving forward with Joseph, everything that transpired were difficult human things they had to face. We can forget, when we're caught in our own trouble, that Mary and Joseph faced real challenges, not knowing everything that was coming. [But] they trusted, and we can do the same. We can look to them and find peace and trust in that place with them."

Ultimately, Advent is meant to bring us closer to Jesus. Sister Kathryn says, "More than making a friend of Jesus is realizing that He has befriended us. Just the awe and the humbling reality that God - the divinity, my Creator - wanted to me my friend!..If Pope Francis came and said, 'Sister Kathryn, I want to be your friend,' I'd be like,'Wow, that is really cool!'"

DeTurris Poust concludes, "I think children and adults need to be reminded that [friendship] exists. It's not something we have to earn [or] seek in a special way. We just have to turn ourselves toward Jesus and put ourselves in God's presence. Again, it comes back to that daily time spent in prayer."

This essay is a recent "Light One Candle" column, written by Tony Rossi, of The Christophers; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.)

Background information:

The Christophers

Reflection Starter from St. Josemaría Escrivá

"God calls us through what happens during our day: through the suffering and happiness of the people we live with, through the human interests of our colleagues and the things that make up our family life." - Saint Josemaría Escrivá

05 December 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of quiet, reflective periods of time.

On the Catholic Observance of Advent

"During the weeks before Christmas, Catholic churches stand out for what they are missing.

"Unlike stores, malls, public buildings and homes that start gearing up for Christmas at least by Thanksgiving, churches appear almost stark save for Advent wreaths and maybe some greenery or white lights.

"'The chance for us to be a little out of sync or a little countercultural is not a bad thing,' said Paulist Father Larry Rice, director of the University Catholic Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
By the same token, he is not about to completely avoid listening to Christmas music until Dec. 24 either. The key is to experience that 'being out of sync feeling in a way that is helpful and teaches us something about our faith,' he told Catholic News Service.

"Others find with the frenetic pace of the Christmas season it is calming to go into an undecorated church and sing more somber hymns like 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.' But that shouldn't be the only draw, noted Jesuit Father Bruce Morrill, who is the Edward A. Malloy professor of Catholic studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee.

"He said the dissonance between how the church and society at large celebrate Christmas is that the church celebration begins, not ends, Dec. 25. The shopping season and Christian church calendar overlap, but don't connect, he added.

"And even though Catholic churches - in liturgies at least - steer clear of Christmas carols during Advent and keep their decorations to a minimum, Morrill said he isn't about to advise Catholic families to do the same. . . ."

 In a recent commentary, writer Carol Zimmermann offered some reflections on the importance of Advent in the liturgical life of the Church and her people.

To access Ms. Zimmermann's complete essay, please visit:

Crux: Catholic liturgies avoid Christmas decorations, carols in Advent (2 DEC 17)

Thank you, Deacon Greg Kandra, for the tip.

Reflection Starter from St. Teresa of Avila

"God has been very good to me, for I never dwell upon anything wrong which a person has done, so as to remember it afterwards. If I do remember it, I always see some other virtue in that person." - Saint Teresa of Avila

03 December 2017

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings You have planned for us during this holy season of Advent.

Msgr. Pope on Letting God Find You

"It may seem odd to say, 'Let God find you.' After all, God knows just where we are. But there is something very respectful about a God who, as Jesus says in the Book of Revelation, stands at the door and knocks. Even back in the Garden of Eden, as sinful Adam and Eve hid, God walked through the garden and called, 'Where are you?'" 

"Yes, God waits until we let him find us, until we open the door of our heart where he knocks, or until we decide to come out of hiding.

"But God does knock. He sends us prophets and speaks through creation and His Word to establish a connection with us. He seeks a connection. . . ." 

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the importance of letting God find us, meeting us where we are. 

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit: 

Community in Mission: Let God Find You - As Seen in a Touching Christmas Commercial (1 DEC 17)

Reflection Starter from Pope Francis

"The love of Christ is like a 'spiritual GPS' that guides us unerringly towards God and towards the heart of our neighbor." - Pope Francis