When I think of Advent, I often think about how we witness so many historical events that led up to the birth of Jesus. From Old Testament readings, to Mary’s Annunciation, to purple and rose colored candles and more. I started to realize, though, that maybe my involvement in Advent has been more like spectating than participating.
Everyone knows the Christmas story and expects to hear it at Mass. You’d have to try really hard to live in America and not know the basics of the Christmas narrative.
But instead of hearing about shepherds scared by angels and a divine baby dressed in swaddling clothes, we hear the genealogy of Jesus all the way from Abraham down to Joseph (Mary’s husband, not the Old Testament Technicolor Dreamcoat guy). This probably leaves more than a few people wondering if maybe the priest messed up and is reading from the wrong book.
I’m not going to say all guys are like this… but it is how a lot of people place value on their lives. What you do and how much stuff you have is generally what a person is judged by – especially a man. Do more stuff! Buy more things! Wear good clothes! Work harder than Jobs at your jobs! Be more successful than Wayne Wright! Don’t know who that is? Me neither. But some dude has that name and he obviously wasn’t good enough to accomplish things.
Advent is a time to “get ready” for the celebration of the birth of Christ. If you’re like me, the past few weeks of Advent have been a challenge. I’ve been running around crazy! And I know this is a busy time for everyone with school, family, etc.
If you want to get technical, that 'pieta' moment first occurred not on Calvary, but in Bethlehem. The manger's wood was a foreshadowing; it is the 'cross' of Christmas. There is far more going on at Jesus' birth than many of us realize upon first glance.
See, I’m not that embarrassed about being afraid of roaches. They’re nasty and no one likes them. All throughout high school and college, my biggest fear was actually that I wouldn’t end up being a good dad/husband. Many of my friends came from divorced homes. I never understood what was so hard about it until my parents got divorced in junior year. I thought, “Welp, that’s it for me. Your family is your foundation. If it’s broken, I’m broken.”
Mary’s pregnancy was unlike any other pregnancy ever. No one around her could understand what she was going through. Despite all these unknowns, Mary’s trust and confidence in God was steady and strong. During her pregnancy (after traveling about 80 miles to visit her cousin Elizabeth) she spoke of God’s greatness, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47).
A couple years ago, my friends and I decided to walk The Camino de Santiago — the way of St. James. One of the oldest pilgrimages in the world, besides Rome and Jerusalem, the Camino ends in Santiago, Spain. We began at one of the designated pilgrim departure spots in Saint-John-Pied-de-Port, in France, and spent […]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Due to our fallen nature, we need God's help; we need His grace so that we can walk the road of repentance. Remember, God can only share with us that which He has.
So what exactly was Jesus talking about when He said, 'It is finished'?
Once Jesus has done all this, poured out His love so incredibly, we deny Him. We turn down His love in the most horrifying way . . . by putting Him to death.
He accepts it. He embraces it. He hangs on the cross and says, “I thirst.”
This summer I read about Blessed Mother Teresa. At the center of her spirituality were these two words of Jesus: “I thirst.” Her love and devotion to Christ can be summed up in that simple phrase. She understood what Christ meant when He spoke those words.
Sometimes light reveals things that we don't want to see. Lent has a way of doing that. It causes a little bit of pressure and stress, and shows us just how weak we can be sometimes. In my case, sitting in the sun revealed some things in me that I needed to work on. Had I gone and escaped into the shade, I may have missed out on the chance to improve myself.
Sometimes God seems far from us. Sometimes it seems as if He's forsaken us completely.
When I was sixteen, my dad died from lung cancer. Both during his illness and after his death, I felt very alone, both in a worldly sense – none of my friends had lost a parent’Ìâ‰âÂÌâ‰Ûùand in a spiritual sense. Part of me believed that God let my dad die, and that he'd left me alone to suffer and grieve.
You see, Mary is our Mother, whether we want her to be or not. God, our Father has made it so through His son's words. He knew our need for a motherly presence in the spiritual realm. So, with His dying breath, 'Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to his mother, ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏWoman, behold, your son.' Then He said to the disciple, ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏBehold, your mother'' (John 19:26-27).
How crazy is that? Now that is mercy!
Big surprise, huh? I've spent many of my 22 years dreaming up the most perfect wedding. And since the creation of Pinterest, the harmless dreaming has become a borderline-addictive pinning-spree of dresses, cakes and the world's most adorable flower girl outfits. So, it's only natural, that I fell in love with the story of the Wedding at Cana when I started praying the rosary regularly last year.
Perhaps the toughest part of forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. This Lent, I've made specific efforts to forgive myself for past wrongdoings. I've reflected on what lead me to those sins or mistakes. I've confessed them and have felt Jesus take them off of my shoulders. The freedom that comes with Jesus' forgiveness is life-changing. But we have to let it change our lives. We have to accept that He forgives us. He doesn't hold a grudge, so who are we to hold one?
Jesus Christ is both justice and mercy. The Law of Moses required for the woman to be stoned; He didn't fail to invite others to stone her. He even opened up the opportunity for others to condemn the woman, but only if they met the qualification that He knew no one (besides His mother & Himself ) could meet: 'let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her' (John 8:7).
Among all the people that were present, Christ could've immediately condemned her by His own standards. But He did not condemn her; He showed her mercy.
Ìâ‰âÂÌâÅÒI don't even know how she got on this show if she can't harmonize,' I said as I leaned back in my chair and looked at the TV.
'Megan!' my roommate snapped. 'You're not supposed to be watching TV! Get back to work!'
'I'm not watching, I'm just . . . ' I trailed off, unable to come up with an excuse. I sat back up in my chair and started in on my schoolwork again.