As we enter the second week of Advent, this season of preparation, of waiting, of longing for our hearts desire that can only be filled with Jesus; I encourage you to use your little blue Advent books to help you grow in prayer. Prayer will lead us deeper into a relationship with Jesus.
The saints have shown us how to do that. How to live that out each day. I wish to highlight a few feast days that are celebrated in the first part of December. We have our patronal feast day, the Immaculate Conception. At Lourdes in 1858 Mary appeared and proclaimed that she was the Immaculate Conception. Our country adopted her as our patron saint in 1846. On the 12th of December we have the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She appeared in Mexico and was the doorway for the Mexican people to enter the Church leaving behind pagan rituals and human sacrifices. She was declared empress of the Americas. Mary is meant to be a unifier for South, Central and North America as one people. On the 13th we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy. This martyr of the early Church was an example of courage aiding fellow Christians in the catacombs until she herself was arrested and put to death for the faith. She is often pictured with candles in a wreath woven around her head to light her way in the catacombs serving the needs of others.
I saved the following article from The ConnectedParish.com June Issue 2022. As we start the new liturgical year it is good to reflect and perhaps ask ourselves the tough questions. To take time and see how deeply we are living the faith or being a model for the faith to others and living as a truly Catholic Christian community. It is not always easy, so the first part of the article is: “Wrestling with Faith. Sometimes it feels like nobody else has any doubts about their faith. No obstacles. No ups and downs. The piety that we learn (which is good) can make others feel like they do not belong. If the role of the parish (I would add parents, godparents, sponsors and catechists) is to bring everybody a step closer to Jesus, then help us overcome these main obstacles:
Indifference: I am indifferent. I have no real need for God in my life. My life is pretty good.
Lifestyle: My lifestyle does not gel with the teachings of the Church, so I don’t belong or don’t want to feel that I need to change in order to belong.
Piety: I don’t believe in all the crazy things like relics, apparitions, mystics, or modern-day miracles. I clearly am not a Catholic.
Angry: I am angry with the Church. The abuse. The lack of warmth. The judgment. The corruption. I don’t want to be associated with any of it.
Other Faiths: If we are the true Church, what about Islam, Judaism, etc. What makes our convictions and faith any truer than theirs?
Eucharist: I find the Eucharist a challenge mentally and spiritually. But everybody seems to ‘get it’–so I obviously don’t belong.
Our petition (and prayer): Please make obstacles easy to talk about so that they can be overcome.”
Powerful points of reflection and perhaps questions or thoughts we all have had. Can we talk about them? Do we have someone to talk to about such obstacles in our life of faith? The saints have all been there, ask their intercession and for someone striving to live the faith to take some time to talk with you. We are not meant to live the faith in isolation but with the Body of Christ.