My new Advent poem, “The Waiting Dilemma” is now live at Catholic365.com

The Waiting Dilemma

“Health is God’s great gift, and we must spend it entirely for Him. Our eyes should see only for God, our feet walk only for Him, our hands labor for Him alone; in short, our entire body should serve God while we still have the time. Then, when He shall take our health and we shall near our last day, our conscience will not reproach us for having misused it.”

— St. John Bosco

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“Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom also means being constantly alert for the signs of its presence, and working for its growth in every sector of society. It means facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ’s victory and a commitment to extending his reign. It means not losing heart in the face of resistance, adversity, and scandal. It means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness. It also means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life, since, as the Second Vatican Council put it, ‘there is no human activity—even in secular affairs—which can be withdrawn from God’s dominion’. It means working to enrich . . . society and culture with the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and never losing sight of that great hope which gives meaning and value to all the other hopes which inspire our lives.”

— Pope Benedict XVI

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“There are a million reasons to be distracted when we receive Communion. But what an opportunity we miss! Receiving Communion is really entering into communion with Jesus—it’s not just an action; it is a key part of a relationship.”

-from A Eucharistic Christmas 

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If you take Christmas to heart and get past the anxieties in arranging for gifts and parties, you will rediscover yourself every year at this time and experience a birth in yourself, just like the one so beautifully described in the Gospel stories. It will be a celebration of both the birth of Jesus and the birth of your own soul.

-from The Soul of Christmas

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“To use this life well is the pathway through death to everlasting life.”

— St. John Almond

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“Even if you do not confess, God is not ignorant of the deed, since he knew it before it was committed. Why then do you not speak of it? Does the transgression become heavier by the confession? No, it becomes lighter and less troublesome. And this is why he wants you to confess: not that you should be punished, but that you should be forgiven; not that he may learn your sin—how could that be, since he has seen it?—but that you may learn what favor he bestows. He wishes you to learn the greatness of his grace, so that you may praise him perfectly, that you may be slower to sin, that you may be quicker to virtue. And if you do not confess the greatness of the need, you will not understand the enormous magnitude of his grace.”

— St. John Chrysostom

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St. Nicholas, bishop and wonderworker, pray for us!

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“People complain that gift-giving becomes empty, frenetic, and annoying. But the problem may not be the giving of gifts but the way we do it. The basic principle is: Anything you do without soul will feel empty and meaningless. So, the task at Christmas is to approach gifts in a different way, in a way that will have some depth and emotion.”

-from The Soul of Christmas

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“They who are bent on sensible sweetness, labor also under another very great imperfection: excessive weakness and remissness on the rugged road of the cross; for the soul that is given to sweetness naturally sets its face against all the pain of self-denial. They labor under many other imperfections, which have their origin here, of which our Lord will heal them in due time, through temptations, aridities and trials, elements of the dark night.”

 

— St. John of the Cross


“Be patient, because the weaknesses of the body are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul. So they are of great merit when they are borne patiently.”

— St. Francis of Assisi

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The celebration of the birth of the Son of God is the celebration of God’s allowing us to see him face-to-face. Through the Virgin of Nazareth, we can now look on the face of God and live. We have been freed from the darkness of sin in order to ascend the mountain of the LORD and stand with Christ in God’s “holy place.”

 -from The Little Way of Advent

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“Your Lord is seated at the Father’s right hand in heaven. How then is the bread His body? And the chalice, or rather its content, how is it His Blood? These elements are called Sacraments, because in them one thing is perceived by the sense and another thing by the mind. What is seen has a bodily appearance; what the mind perceives produces spiritual fruit. You hear the words, ‘The Body of Christ’, and you answer ‘Amen.’”

— Saint Augustine

“I don’t look for perfection, but for joy and happiness. At Christmas we don’t wish each other perfect lives but only “comfort and joy.” This is what I look for: not an end to struggle, but a level of understanding and adjustment so that we can say to each other, “Merry Christmas.”

-from The Soul of Christmas

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“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

— St. Francis de Sales

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“The experience of the Church and the saints demonstrates a general law: what comes from the Spirit of God brings with it joy, peace, tranquility of spirit, gentleness, simplicity, and light. On the other hand, what comes from the spirit of evil brings sadness, trouble, agitation, worry, confusion, and darkness. These marks of the good and the evil spirit are unmistakable signs in themselves.”

— Fr. Jacques Philippe

“God does not wait for us to become perfect or even to repent, but calls us constantly, even while we’re struggling with our faults or refusing to acknowledge them altogether. God takes what is at hand and finds the good in it. He takes what is humble and elevates it to a higher purpose.”

-from A Mary Christmas

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“The adorable Heart of Jesus is our comfort, our way, our life.”

— St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

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“We must improve our prayer and, flowing from that, our charity toward others. It can be difficult to pray when we don’t know how, but we can help ourselves through the use of silence. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. This silence takes a lot of sacrifice, but if we really want to pray, we must be ready to take that step now. Without this first step toward silence, we will not be able to reach our goal, which is union with God.”

— Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

 

“More than once during this busy season we might find ourselves wanting to run away to a deserted place. We get caught up in seeking the spirit of the season in the music, the parties, the gifts, and all the other trappings of the holidays. But Advent calls us again and again to seek God in the silence.”

-from The Joy of Advent

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“Be a Catholic: When you kneel before an altar, do it in such a way that others may be able to recognize that you know before whom you kneel.”

— St. Maximilian Kolbe

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“The sacraments, then, perpetuate and diffuse the life-giving power of Christ in His Church which is His Body. Unlike the organs of the human body, which are in permanent connection with the arteries and channels of supply, we, the members of the Mystical Body, are free; it is by our own choice that we approach the sacraments and join ourselves by them to Christ. Each of the sacraments can give us an increase of the life of grace; but each has in addition a special grace of its own. It puts at our disposal the strength and merits of Christ for a special purpose.”

— Dom Mary Eugene Boylan

“This Christmas, bring that little bit of Jesus you carry in your heart wherever he directs you. Find out what’s needed, and find a way to help.”

-from A Mary Christmas

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“We know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life. We know that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.”

— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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“The custody of the senses is the bedrock of purity, as discipline is of peace and one’s cell is of devotion. When anger takes hold of a person’s thinking, wisdom then departs even from one who is prudent. Whoever speaks in wrath is like a barking dog; but whoever responds with gentleness breaks through the other’s wrath and offers him roses rather than thorns. Blessed is the tongue of the prudent man, for it heals the wounds of one in anger. Whoever struggles against his vices at the very outset, when their motions are first felt, will have greater success in overcoming them than if he delayed until they became rooted.”

— Thomas À Kempis

 

“At every Mass we assert that we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is not a better time to reflect in joyful waiting than the quiet season of Advent, which comes before the celebration of Christmas. And there is no greater model of joy for us than Our Blessed Mother, Mary.”

-from A Mary Christmas

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“Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the most tender of friends with souls who seek to please Him. His goodness knows how to proportion itself to the smallest of His creatures as to the greatest of them. Be not afraid then in your solitary conversations, to tell Him of your miseries, fears, worries, of those who are dear to you, of your projects, and of your hopes. Do so with confidence and with an open heart.”

— St. Damien of Molokai

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“The fullness of wisdom is fear of the Lord, she is present with the faithful in the womb (Sirach 1:14). Fear of the Lord does not mean to be afraid of God. It means to stand in awe and wonder before the greatness of the Lord. When we recognize that God is God and we are creatures, we develop a healthy sense of humility. We acknowledge our need for wisdom and grace, which are both gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

— Rev. Jude Winkler

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