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14

On Jordan's Bank

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On Jordan's Bank
John the Baptist is our guide for the first part of Advent, and the lyrics of On Jordan's Bank continue his mission of preparing hearts for the coming of the Savior. The hymn was written in Latin (Jordanis Oras Prævia) by Charles Coffin, priest and rector of the great University of Paris at the time most of his hymns were published (1736). Coffin wrote over 100 hymns, including The Coming of Our God and the Christmas carol What Star Is This with Beams So Bright, both of which appear in...
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Put Jesus First: Advent with Your Kids
You know what it’s like: by November, the commercial anticipation of Christmas is in full swing, and your kids are probably already thinking about Christmas morning and Christmas stockings and glittering presents under the Christmas tree. But how do you get them to slow down?As adults, we know Advent as a season of anticipation, a time of waiting (something that, truth be told, none of us are really very good at!). That’s not an easy or welcome concept to get across to children.But t...
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09

Put Jesus First: Advent & Prayer

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Put Jesus First: Advent & Prayer
Advent is about looking toward the light in so many ways. The sun’s light starts to grow stronger and longer at the winter solstice, as our hearts warm, too, to the coming of the light of Christ into our lives at Christmas. “The people who walked in darkness,” we are reminded, “have seen a great light.”We celebrate that light through our Sunday liturgies in Advent, and through our daily prayer. From the Advent Conspiracy: It starts with Jesus. It...
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Put Jesus First This Year: A Free Guide for Planning for Advent and Christmas
It’s the beginning of November and already stores are displaying Christmas merchandise and playing tinny-sounding Christmas carols until you want to scream. It’s annoying at best—and, for those of us who are Christians, it verges on the sacrilegious. What happened to Advent, to a period of sober preparation for the coming of the Messiah? Why does Christmas have to be identified with the materialism that Jesus taught us to eschew?We’re not going to escape the consumption t...
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17

Patience and Much Mercy!

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Patience and Much Mercy!
In these first days of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I have found myself remembering our dear Sister Mary Caroline. For the longest time it was she who managed the book bindery where the machines were run by postulants and novices. Sister Caroline, who was anything but mechanical in her inclinations (that was Sister Mary Guadalupe's specialty), had a way of introducing calm into the situation whenever a machine started making a strange “clink” or (worse yet) had begun spitting out damage...
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| Categories: Inspiration, Advent-Christmas, Mercy | Tags: | View Count: (3834)
5 Christmas Tips When Family Members Don’t Go to Church
Do you have family members who are away from the Church? Are you not sure what to say to them when they are home for Christmas? I used to be a fallen-away Catholic who went to Christmas Mass every year with my family. I am not sure why I went to Mass; I was an atheist. Sometimes I felt annoyed during the homilies or unmoved by the liturgy. But there were other times when I felt something stir.Maybe it was something the pastor said. Perhaps it was the reverent way someone received the Eucharist. ...
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| Categories: Inspiration, How to Share Your Faith, Advent-Christmas, Mercy | Tags: | View Count: (8576)
15

First Surprises of 2015

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First Surprises of 2015
My first surprise for 2015 was not pleasant: I spent the first few days of January sick in bed!Right after Christmas, I caught a bad flu and just as I thought I was getting well, a relapse totally knocked me down on New Year’s Eve. (I’m feeling much better now, thanks to the TLC of several sisters, lots of bed rest and a surprising amount of cold medicine.)  My second surprise of the new year was much more pleasant: the time I needed to spend in bed has proven to be unexpectedly fruitful! Bein...
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| Categories: Inspiration, Advent-Christmas | Tags: pope Francis, holiness, love, Mary | View Count: (6030)
Christmas Carries On Throughout the Year
Merry Christmas! (Christmas is not over!) A Blessed New Year! (For us Catholics New Year's Day is the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God!) Each day of the octave of Christmas we celebrate Christmas again. The glory, the wonder, the awe of the good news that heaven has bent down to earth to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves: rescue ourselves from the sin that plagues us and from which none of us could extricate ourselves on our own. We needed One who was the Righteousness of God in our f...
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| Categories: Inspiration, Advent-Christmas | Tags: love, saints, peace | View Count: (5822)
26

Be It Resolved...

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Be It Resolved...
There's something about New Year's that inspires hope in me. Every year, during those first seven of the Twelve Days of Christmas, I find myself actively and enthusastically contemplating the start of a new year. No matter how tattered (or forgotten) last year's resolutions are, I am confident that this year will be different. Maybe it's the glow from the Christmas lights, but snarky and cynical shadows of how well last year's resolutions went don't have a chance. It's a New Year, and in some wa...
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| Categories: Inspiration, Advent-Christmas | Tags: Mary, holiness, love | View Count: (6887)
17

Jesus Our Savior Is Born

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Jesus Our Savior Is Born
Today while being prepped for a long dental procedure, my dentist began talking about preparing for Christmas. Having grown up in an Asian country, he told me that even though a non-Christian he had often visited various Catholic churches at Christmastime, attracted by the lights and decorations. As I settled into the dentist chair I listened to this kind, conscientious man. He talked about life and how he was trying to achieve a sort of perfection, a release from the hold that anger, envy, disa...
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