Mary Undoer of Knots

Christ came to bring JOY;

Joy to children, joy to parents,

Joy to families and friends,

Joy to the sick and elderly,

Joy to all humanity.

In a true sense, JOY is the keynote message of Christianity,

And the recurring motif of the Gospels.

Go, therefore, and become Messengers of Joy!

~ Pope John Paul II

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent: Training for the Final Coming of Christ

"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 John Paul II
            Dec. 18, 2002

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Advent of Our King

This has been the BEST Advent EVER!  More so than any other year, this has been a time of real preparation for the birth of our Lord.  I think it was two years ago that I prayed that I would understand the significance of Christmas better.....that I would find a particular closeness to and love for Jesus as the Divine Infant.  I must admit, that it often seemed just too sentimental for me, especially in light of how many people see Christmas merely as a season for shopping and partying, giving and receiving gifts bought on credit.....That after all of the craziness of the preparations, it was over in a day.  How empty that must be for people who don't know God.  We are lucky to have Him in our hearts, but we must never be happy with the degree to which we know, love and serve Him.  We must always strive for more, praying and begging that He will increase our desire for Him, increase our Love for Him.......

In a world where so many parents increasingly fail to put their children at the center of their lives, it is not surprising that they would forget about the baby Jesus unless they happened to glance at a manger scene for a moment.  But this is our Savior!  This is our God!  This is the King of Universe, who permitted Himself to become a virtual prisoner in the virginal womb of His holy and blessed Mother.  He permitted Himself to become powerless to see to his own human needs.  As it was recently pointed out to me, He allowed Himself to be put into a position of having to sit in a poopy diaper, waiting to be noticed and surrender His will to that of His parents.  He suffered hunger until He was fed and cold until He was clothed.  Don't be deceived into thinking this is no big deal for a baby.  THIS particular baby was GOD.  What a humble gift we have in Him!  Jesus surrendered every bit of Himself for the will of our Father.

How many people in our lives or in our world have no choice but to surrender everything to God because they have virtually nothing to care for themselves, either by poverty or by illness or infirmity of some kind?  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:3

Are we as blessed?  Are we surrendering everything to God out of necessity, or must we make an active decision to do it? 

During this Advent, I have made an effort to deepen my surrender and dependence on God.  It is easier some days than others, that is for sure.  But we must try again, and always try again and again.  He deserves nothing less.  Let us give Him our loved ones and our hearts.  Let us give Him our hopes, dreams, pain and suffering.  All of it is pure gift to Him.

What will YOU give Him for Christmas this year?

Let it be done according to Your will.