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Allowing another person a glimpse into your soul is actively participating in creating those moments in which the change within may happen. It’s one of those cool instances when the giver becomes the one receiving, and the one receiving becomes the giver. Each of us is beautifully unique and we all have so much to offer to each other – even when we think we don’t. We are all drawn to those around us who seem to be unafraid of letting their light shine and their soul show (like Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, …

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Discerning God’s Will

by Dan Thomas

Recently at the Sunday liturgy we sang “Jesus, Lead Me.” It is not the most powerful or deep or even beautiful of music, but it raised a question for me about how I/we know where it is that Jesus is leading us. Nearly a month ago, I read the book Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri Nouwen with Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird. This book is the third of a series (the other two are Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith, and Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit) …

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Through the blog of Sean Michael Winter I came across an article, Dumbing Religion Down in the New York Times William James, Joel Osteen, and the Gray Lady BY LEON WIESELTIER literary editor of The New Republic  In it he raises several significant issues worth reflecting about in our experience of religious belief and religious practice, particularly the practice of prayer. First, there are Wieseltier’s reflections on intercessory prayer that point out its difficulties and challenges: “As the climactic pleadings were chanted, I was pierced by an intuition of the utter impotence, the wrenching sensation …

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Apparently the first Monday following New Year’s Day is “Blue Monday,” the most depressing day of the year. Hmm… I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, particularly as at the moment it was -10 degrees outside at noon, and I was rather exhausted from dealing with the aftermath of snow and ice and biting winds and frozen pipes and layering up to go anywhere… you know it all already! I also suspect that many of us (especially young parents) are probably suffering from cabin fever brought on by WAY too many days stuck indoors with each other. As …

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Let us act so that our brothers and sisters never feel alone! Our presence in solidarity is expressed not only through our words  but also through the eloquence of our deeds that God is close to everyone.”   This is part of the challenging Christmas message from Pope Francis, who still expresses his faith by bringing God’s “Good News” to the prisoners and lonely in the slums of Rome and Rio as he formally did in Argentina.  It’s clear that the Holy Father is constantly empowered by Jesus’ words from Jesus’ “Last Judgment” in Matthew 25:31-46, …

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One of the cherished Christmas gifts from my childhood is a simple, plastic nativity set. My grandparents gave it to me when I was eight or nine. It has traveled from my room when I was growing up to my college dorm and to now my office at the seminary. Each year I enjoy getting it out in Advent and arranging the figures. And each year I am confronted with two questions: Do I put the baby Jesus out before Christmas? And, do I put the three wise men out before the Epiphany? Recently, I …

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by amcentee

A joyous and blessed Christmas to you and yours! “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest …

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Responding to the Unborn

by Emily Macke

Being in the third trimester of pregnancy encourages all sorts of people – friends, acquaintances, strangers – to share their advice and good wishes.  It’s wonderful to see how excited people become at the thought of a new baby in the world, but there is one comment shared quite frequently that has given me pause. When I say that we do not know if our baby is a boy or a girl, the typical response is, “As long as you have a healthy baby … that’s all that matters.” This sentiment has been expressed to …

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The word “advent” means “coming”. The Church teaches us that during Advent we wait for two comings of Christ: we prepare to celebrate Christmas, when Christ first came into the world; and, we wait for Christ’s second coming at the end of time. (See General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, Paragraph 39, from Documents on  the Liturgy, 1963-1979, Conciliar, Papal and Curial Texts © 1982, ICEL.) Advent begins at sundown the eve of the fourth Sunday before Christmas and concludes at sundown on Christmas Eve.  The First Sunday of Advent also heralds the …

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Give the Devil His Due

by Joe Ollier

In the preface to his classic work, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis makes the comment that people can make “two equal and opposite errors” regarding devils.  “One is to disbelieve in their existence.  The other is to believe, and to feel and excessive and unhealthy interest in them.  They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…”  In other words, those who don’t believe in Satan and those who join him both have fallen into his trap.  Both have believed his lies. One of Satan’s greatest lies is convincing people that he doesn’t exist – that …

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