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Advent Preparations

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One of my favorite memories as a child was the two days after Thanksgiving. Of course I was off from school, but this was also the time when the Christmas tree went up and lights were put on the house. There are certain ornaments, even to this day, that my mom leaves for me to put on the tree - mainly the Packer ornaments! For many of us, we are going into "Christmas mode". I'm sure decorations are going up and family events are being planned. These are all wonderful things because as Andy Williams sings, "It's the most wonderful time of year!"

Through all these joys, we have to remember that this is the beginning of the Advent season, not the Christmas season. These next four weeks are a time a preparation, not only to welcome guests into our home, but also Jesus himself into our hearts. In the middle of all the busyness, we must recall why we're doing all of this in the first place. Perhaps this year something won't be as perfect as you'd like. Maybe you didn't have time to make that one extra side dish because you took a break to pray. Maybe there's a few decorations that didn't make it up this year because you came to Mass or Reconciliation instead. I promise you that time spent preparing your heart will make you far happier on Christmas morning than any decoration.

Together, as a family, may we prepare our hearts well this Advent, so that we can join the choir of angels on Christmas morning singing, "Glory to God in the highest!"

Habits

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Habits. We all have them. Some are good for us and some are not so good for us. One habit that I have is to start my day with three things.

The first is my daily prayer. I have a routine to my prayer that is rooted in a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. This prayer quickly transitions into the Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. The third component is an informal prayer to our Lord to lift up my “big asks”.

The second part of my morning routine is to read the daily meditation from Thirsting For God: Daily Meditations of Mother Teresa edited by Angelo D. Scolozzi. I often dog-ear the pages of “the good ones”. It is fun to come upon these dog-eared pages a year later and wonder what inspired me to dog ear it.

The third component is to read my daily reflection and prayer from The Catholic Mom’s Desk Calendar by Lisa M. Hendey. This waits for me in the kitchen. I read it while I am waiting for my daily dose of coffee to finish brewing.

If I don’t accomplish these three things before leaving the house, I feel like I am missing something. It is in sharing this habit of mine, that I share the meditation from St. Teresa, as noted on October 22, which inspired my writing today. “To almighty God, the smallest action given to him is great. But for us, we always measure how much we did, for how long. For God, there is no time. What should be important to us is how much love we put into the giving.” All in all this habit of mine to start the day takes all of 10 minutes,
sometimes 15 if something is weighing on me. It is amazing how small of a thing can have such an impact on my relationship with God and others. This habit brings me to peace. It brings me to hope. It brings me to a better version of myself.

What habits do you have? Are you looking to start a new one? I am happy to share my resources any time. I’d love to hear about some of yours.

Posted by Jill Fischer with 1 Comments

Mother of All People

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I remember as a child sitting in church watching people pray the Rosary and being so happy at my First Communion to receive my own beautiful set of prayer beads. I recall the beautiful May Crownings, as well as one of my teachers asking us to create a shrine to Mary in our homes. That idea did not go over too well, having shared a room with my two sisters. Yet, the statues and the pictures of Mary were very formative in my life. My first visit to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Milwaukee, was unforgettable. Mary has a very important part in the life of our Lord. She was the first Tabernacle, carrying our Lord within her. She accompanied her Son throughout his life until his death on the Cross. Jesus declares that Mary became the mother of all people. Her mission is to lead us closer to her son, Jesus. In 2019, we celebrate the 160th anniversary of the apparition to Adele Brise in Champion, WI at Our Lady of Good Help. This is the only approved apparition of Mary in the United States. Yes, my friends, this important place of grace is only two hours from Brookfield.

I recently made a pilgrimage to Holy Hill, to the shrine of Mary, with a trusting heart in her powerful intercession. Both my brothers were diagnosed with cancer. I knelt in complete dependence and humility begging her help on their behalf. Several days later, we received the amazing news that treatment and surgery would remove all cancer cells. How relieved and grateful I was. Consider making a visit to one of her shrines or praying the Rosary. She is the woman, the mother of all people who pleads with her Son for all of us.

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