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Week of December 14, 2014  

(Isa 61:10-11) I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth her seed to shoot forth: so shall the Lord God make justice to spring forth, and praise before all the nations.

Advent Calendar 2014

POPE FRANCIS: “I am thinking about those who are oppressed by suffering, injustice and oppression, about those who are slaves to money, power, success, and worldliness. We are all called to console our brothers, testifying that only God can eliminate the causes of existential and spiritual dramas."

CATHOLIC REVIEW: Advent: the perfect spiritual wake-up call by Archbishop William E. Lori

ST. LOUIS REVIEW: BEFORE THE CROSS | Gaudete Sunday reminds us that Advent is a season of joy by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

: Don't Let the Real Meaning of Christmas Be Overwhelmed by a Misspent Advent

EXCERPT DFW CATHOLIC: Advent = War is Coming!

When we view a nativity scene, we generally think of a peaceful scene. Many think of the baby born to a virgin in a manger and the star which rests above. There are peaceful animals, a humble St. Joseph, and scared shepherds.

But, something is missing.

It is the drumbeat of war. Can’t you hear it? It is the spiritual battle that rages in places we cannot see with our eyes or hear with our ears. It rages in our hearts.

Even in the peaceful image of Jesus being born, we need to see God warning His people to prepare for battle. The victorious king has entered the fray and he calls us to take up our weapons of prayer, righteousness, chastity, faith, hope, love….

The Army General, Satan, knows he will lose the final battle, yet he fights to ruin as many as he can. He will tempt, deceive, and push you to sin.

Notice how the manger scene cries out WAR IS COMING!
Now it is our turn. If we fail to pick a side in the war, it means we have already chosen: “he who is not with me is against me.

The drumbeat of war is pounding. Pick up your cross – it is your weapon against the enemy – and follow The King of Kings into battle. He is about to be born as a poor babe to a virgin.

EXCERPT HOMILY FR. ESPER: Hope, patience, and repentance are three essential road markers or landmarks as we journey through these weeks of Advent, and through life itself; if we’re lacking in any of these things, it will be very easy for us to become spiritually lost or stranded.

Hope means that we don’t lose heart, even if we’re passing through a period of grief, poor health, financial difficulties, relationship problems, religious doubts, or anything else. The Lord wants us to persevere in doing what’s right, even when it’s hard, and to continue in our prayers, even when they’re unsatisfying, for His Kingdom will certainly come. Rather than giving up, we must constantly be looking up, keeping our eyes on the goal of heaven.

The road marker of patience is also vitally important. In a car journey it’s quite common for children to ask, “Are we there yet?” and for parents to respond, “Not yet—a little while longer.” Jesus says the same thing to us: “Be patient; look around you as you travel, notice the other travelers, and enjoy the journey— you’ll be here with Me before you know it.” Patience allows us to make good progress by keeping things in perspective and by continuing to grow spiritually even when things are difficult.

The third road marker of repentance is an essential one, for our sinfulness can prevent or delay the successful completion of our spiritual journey. Our lesser sins are like stretches of rough, potholed, uneven road that force us to slow down, and our serious sins are like road closings and detours that actually take us in the wrong direction away from God. We overcome these faults by honestly admitting our sins and humbly seeking God’s forgiveness for them; the regular examination our conscience and reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our use of divine grace to overcome our faults, and our humble apologies to those we’ve hurt by our sins, help smooth out the way before us and keep us on the right path.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Sober Living 

4. At first Ammoi said to Aesius, 'What do you think of me?' He said, 'You are like an angel, abba.' Later on he said, 'Now what do you think of me?' Her replied, 'You are like Satan, for even if you speak a good word, it is like a sword to me.

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