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A Supernatural Way of Living

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Are you ready to die? This was the question the professor silently wrote on the chalkboard the first evening of my formation class in servant leadership. My thoughts ran immediately to answer, “Well, I’m certainly not ready yet!” As it turns out, he wasn’t referring to a physical death, but rather an orientation of the heart to be willing to do the Lord’s will. He was really asking us if we were willing to die into Christ, His Church, and His Mission.

Jesus models for each of us how He, as the good shepherd, lays down his own life for each of us, His sheep. Offering our owns lives for the love of others is Jesus’ vocational request for each one of us. This is not a skill to be perfected with practice, or a natural human attribute that only some of us are given, but rather a supernatural way of living through the power of grace that each of us is destined for.

 

Glory to God in the Highest

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“Do not be afraid; for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” No, I’m not talking about a vaccine for the COVID virus, I am quoting from the gospel of Luke as to the pronouncement by the angel to the shepherds. The angel heralding the birth of Jesus. But the words are good ones to remember and live by.

The birth of Jesus is good news. It is THE good news and no matter what we are feeling, the recalling of God made one of us means that as we and the world are living through these times, so is Jesus. Knowing it was God’s choice to enter into the mess of humanity 2000 years ago, and still walks with us today, is the foundation of Advent and of joy.

It’s not too late to stop and enter into the mystery of Christmas. It’s not too late to find that joy which may have eluded you until the very moment you are reading this. Take this moment, right now, to ponder the reality of Jesus with us. What would it mean in your life and the life of your family if you lived each day, made each decision, knowing Jesus was at your side? Maybe, like the angel, you would become a herald of the Good News! Announcing the good news that God didn’t come to praise those high up, but to elevate the lowly, to bring comfort to those in sorrow, to quell fear to those distressed. God started life as a small vulnerable infant. Remember, as God cared for the Holy Family, you are cared for and protected.

This year may seem like one in which everything is askew, that nothing is what it was, and yet, on Christmas Day we celebrate a certainty. On Christmas Day, we celebrate that God loved us so much that He sent his only Son to be with us, and with that the world is changed forever. This year, we may need to draw this mystery out a little more. We may need to work harder at pondering the meaning of the birth of Jesus. We may have need to search deeper for joy, but it is there and it is waiting. It is not too late. Start with repeating, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Have a blessed Christmas season.

in Love, Mercy

Celebrating Advent

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"We Don't Really Celebrate Advent"

A priest friend remarked this to me one Advent. He is right; we easily get caught up in preparing for the festivities of Christmas: decorating the house and tree, buying and wrapping gifts, shopping for and preparing Christmas Dinner. Even our staff can get caught up in preparing more for Christmas Masses than entering into Advent. 

Coincidently, Advent is a season of preparation: a time to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for the coming of Christ: “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” We prepare to celebrate the historical event  of the incarnation: of God becoming Man. We are challenged to prepare ourselves for the moment we are called home to Christ. We are also called to prepare for the second coming of Christ at the end of time.  

In this year plagued by the Coronavirus, it will be easy to mourn our “normal” Christmas traditions, as we are asked to celebrate with immediate family only. Many gifts will need to be mailed (or sent directly via Amazon) to loved ones. We will miss out on some of the hugs and laughs we often share with extended family.  The Christmas kids table will be a breakout room on Zoom. 

Instead of mourning our normal Christmas, let us choose to view this as an invitation. An invitation to prepare less for the festivities of Christmas and enter into the season of Advent. Doing so will lead us to a greater understanding of God’s mercy and allow us to embrace God’s love more fully. 

 

Tags: advent

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