So, Advent is almost over and maybe, like me, you think you didn’t make it as prayerful as you planned. We want to be prepared for Christ’s coming, but life seems to put up roadblocks. That’s when it is important to remember God doesn’t expect perfection. He knows we will make mistakes. The fact that we made a conscious effort to improve our prayer life during Advent shows we were on the right track. The important thing is to keep on trying. We can and must strive to better our prayer habits.
The feast of Christmas is more than just a one-day celebration. The Incarnation of Our Lord merits more! Today, people mistakenly think the 12 days of Christmas refer to a countdown from December 12th to Christmas Eve, something tied to the number of shopping days. Those who “keep Christmas” as Dickens phrased it in A Christmas Carol, know this is not what Christmas is about. The Christmas season is from December 25th until Epiphany (the coming of the Wise Men) on January 6th.
Ordained in 1940, Kapaun was a priest for the Diocese of Wichita. He had originally thought of becoming a missionary priest, but discerned that the diocesan priesthood was where Our Lord wanted him. He began his military career when he was appointed the auxiliary chaplain at the Army Airbase in Herington, Kansas. After returning to parish life, Fr. Emil asked his Bishop to return to army service and Bishop Winklemann agreed and recommended him to the US. Army Chaplain Corps in July 1944. He served the troops at the end of World War II in Burma and India. Eventually, he was stationed in Japan with the 1st Cavalry Division. His division was one of the first units sent in after the North Korean Army attacked South Korea.
In our lives, we should be striving to practice this sacrificial love each and every day. We should be going out to serve others with Christ-like love and humility. There are so many in need, not just in need of physical care, but also spiritual care. As followers of Christ, we are called to minister to these people. “As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”
St. Patrick composed the famous prayer known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” in preparation for conquering paganism. In it, he pleads for protection against demons, vices, false prophets, heathenism, heresy, idolatry, women, smiths, and druids, to name a few. We see in this prayer, everything he had to face; everything he had to combat during his endeavor to bring Ireland to Christ. What is so striking is the parallel between what St. Patrick experienced then and what we are experiencing now. The world has turned to false gods: Money, selfishness, and pride. Any mention of God is cut down and suppressed. The universal theme of “becoming the best version of you” or being pleasing to the eyes of others has become a seemingly permanent theme.
In 1631 during the 30 Years War, the Carmelite monastery that housed the Infant Jesus statue was sacked and the Divine Child was thrown into a pile of rubbish behind the altar. It stayed there, with its hands broken off, for nearly 7 years until in 1637 Father Cryillus found the statue. Father Cryillus returned it to the church's oratory. Not long after, while praying in front of the statue, it began to speak to Father Cryillus, saying:
As Catholics, we believe that we have the responsibility to exercise our right to vote, and that the way we vote is a moral decision. The Church is much greater than any one political system on earth and as such, does not have the typical practice of endorsing particular candidates. However, through Sacred Tradition, we have a wealth of wisdom and general principles to inform us as we discern our decision on how to vote.
Understanding that the Heart of Jesus is full of mercy for sinners, but sinners often close their hearts to Our Lord’s mercy and cause Jesus profound suffering, join Therese in asking the Lord to pour into your heart the mercy rejected by others so that all you do is done for love of Jesus!
The Sacrament of Holy Communion is the source and summit of the Christian life, so the first time a child receives the Eucharist a momentous occasion. Receiving the Blessed Sacrament makes the child a partaker in the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ!