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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: http://oneyearbibleonline.com/december-oyb/?version=63&startmmdd=0101

Second Week of Advent, 2016  

(Mat 3:1-3) And in those days cometh John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea. And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by Isaias the prophet, saying: A voice of one crying in the desert, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.

POPE FRANCIS: “With the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it is God himself who has come to dwell among us, to free us from selfishness, from sin and corruption.”

CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: St. John the Baptist, prophet of Advent and preacher of repentance

NCR: Poland's Bishops, People, and President Formally Declare Christ Their King

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS

Why Catholics Built Secret Astronomical Features Into Churches to Help Save Souls
Apocalypse Now? Another Great Sign Rises in the Heavens
Could we be entering upon a "Time of Justice"?


FAITH MATTERS
: The Season of Second Chances

Advent is a season of starting again, of once again focusing our lives on what is truly important and letting go of the things that cloud and distract us (and isn’t it so easy this time of year to get distracted).

One of the great things about God is the fact that He is the God of second chances. And not only second chances but third, fourth, fifth and seventy times seven chances (Mt. 18:22).

In God’s immense love and mercy, we are never stuck with our past faults and failures. We can always come to Jesus, lay our struggles and weaknesses at His feet and know that His forgiveness and grace will always be ours, simply for the asking.

Jesus says to us in the Gospel, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). We all carry heavy burdens; work, family, financial, and we also carry the burdens of our past; choices we have made, poor relationships, selfish and self-centered lifestyles. To all of this, Jesus promises rest if we but come to Him.

Jesus said “I have come so that you may have my joy and have it to the full” (Jn. 17:13). Jesus desires our true joy and knows that we can only experience the true joy He came to bring when we allow Him to remove our burdens and sins, our selfishness and conceit, when we come to Him trusting in His promises of joy in this world and for all eternity.

Advent is a great opportunity to give up the futile struggle of trying to carry the burdens of life all alone. Now is the time to come to Jesus and let Him give us His rest. May we all make use of this exciting and holy time to prepare well for the great celebration of Christmas and to come to Jesus or if we have been away, to come back to Jesus, and let Him give us His rest and joy.

EXCERPT FR. RON ROLHEISER, OMI: STAYING AWAKE

All of us know how difficult it is for us to be inside the present moment, to not be asleep to the real riches inside our own lives. The distractions and worries of daily life tend to so consume us that we habitually take for granted what’s most precious to us: our health, the miracle of our senses, the love and friendships that surround us, and the gift of life itself. We are very much asleep, both to God and to our own lives.

The distractions, cares, and pressures of everyday life will invariably have their way with us and we will, in effect, fall asleep to what’s deeper and more important inside of life. But it’s for this reason that every major spiritual tradition has daily rituals designed precisely to wake us from spiritual sleep, akin an alarm clock waking us from physical sleep.

It’s for this reason we need to begin each day with prayer. What happens if we don’t pray on a given morning is not that we incur God’s wrath, but rather that we tend to miss the morning, spending the hours until noon trapped inside a certain dullness of heart. The same can be said about praying before meals. We don’t displease God by not first centering ourselves in gratitude before eating, but we miss out on the richness of what we’re doing. Liturgical prayer and the Eucharist have the same intent, among their other intentions. They’re meant to, regularly, call us out of a certain sleep.

None of us lives each day of our lives as if it was his or her last day. Our heartaches, headaches, distractions, and busyness invariably lull us to sleep. That’s forgivable; it’s what it means to be human. So we should ensure that we have regular spiritual rituals, spiritual alarm clocks, to jolt us back awake – so that it doesn’t take a heart attack, a stroke, cancer, or death to wake us up.

ADVENT RESOURCES

DYNAMIC CATHOLIC: Best Advent Ever Rediscover Mercy! Are you Ready?

STEUBENVILLE FUEL: Project Advent
CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY'S ONLINE MINISTRIES: Praying Advent and Celebrating Christmas

SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX: "We know that there are three comings of the Lord. ... In His first coming, our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming, He comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming, He will be seen in glory and majesty."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 8- "On Freedom from Anger and on Meekness"

13. It is a mark of extreme meekness, even in the presence of one's offender, to be peacefully and lovingly disposed towards him in one's heart, then it is certainly a mark of hot temper when a person continues to quarrel and rage against his offender, both by words and gestures, even when by himself.

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This month's archive can be found at: http://www.catholicprophecy.info/news2.html.