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1/1/16 2:25 P

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Sounds like a good plan to me!

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/31/15 9:57 P

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This year has been so crazy. i did keep up with my daily readings. although i did not take time to do them slowly and think about them. i have a new book for jan- march so i plan to do that one slower and with more intention

Tammy, Scarlet Dragons, Time to Bloom
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12/26/15 6:22 P

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Thanks, Bob!

Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!
Nothing tastes as good as living with less pain feels!


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12/26/15 11:15 A

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Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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12/25/15 11:42 P

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CHRISTMAS DAY – THE SAVIOR
by Bishop Robert Barron

In the Gospel of Luke, we discover the Annunciation to Mary. Here is what the angel Gabriel says to the Virgin: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33).

No first-century Israelite would have missed the meaning here: this child shall be the fulfillment of the promise made to King David. He will be the king of the world, the one who would bring unity and peace to the nations.

The angel confirms this to the shepherds in the fields: “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord: (Luke 2:11). Saviour is Soter in Greek, which means “healer.” This was rendered in Latin as Salvator, Saviour in English. In old myths and legends, the true king would bring healing to his country, just as a wicked king would make the whole country sick.

Further, this healer is “Christ and Lord.” Christos means anointed, and this has a clear Davidic overtone, for David had been anointed king by the prophet Samuel, and all of his successors had been anointed. This baby will be the point of ordering for the entire world; he’ll be the ruler and governor, the one who sets the tone.

And this is further emphasized by calling him “Lord”—Kyrios in Greek, Dominus in Latin. He is the one who should dominate us, rule over every aspect of us.

With the angel’s next words, everything is turned upside down: “And this shall be the sign to you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The new David, Christ the Lord, the Dominus, the center and orderer of all things, the emperor of the universe…is a baby? And a baby wrapped up so it can’t move? And lying where? In the grubby place where the animals eat?

Here is all of the poetry and all of the drama of Christmas. Indeed, the divine power is made manifest in weakness, for the divine power is nothing other than love, giving oneself away, being bound to the other, becoming food for those around you.

Finally, alongside the single angel there appeared an entire army of angels. We should not get sentimental about these angels. These aren’t cute, chubby babies playing harps. They represent the army of heaven, which is more powerful than all of the armies of earth. The Prince of Peace has an army that is more powerful than anything that is in the world.

There are the glad tidings of Christmas. A new king has come, bringing with him an army of heavenly messengers, and he intends to bring peace and unity to the nations.



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12/24/15 11:20 A

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Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Christmas Eve

Wherever we travel, Jesus is our constant companion and guide.

Scripture
“I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.”
Psalm 89:1

Reflection
David wanted to build a temple for the Lord. David was living in a fine house while God was still in a tent. He told the prophet Nathan to bring his desire for a temple before the Lord. The Lord responds that he has no need for a temple. The tent can be easily taken up and moved and laid out once again. In this way, God can move in the midst of his people. Instead, he promises David that he will make an everlasting covenant with him and his descendants (2 Samuel 7:16).

The responsorial Psalm 89 for today was composed at a time when a king in David’s line was defeated in battle. It is partly a lament due to that defeat, but mostly a hymn of faith about God’s steadfast love. God promises that his steadfast love will last for all time, and his covenant would remain firm (Psalm 89:28).

After the birth of John the Baptist, John’s father Zechariah sings a canticle that is prayed in the Divine Office of the Church every day. Zechariah proclaims that the promises made of old to David and Abraham are now on the cusp of fulfillment. God continues to be faithful. Zechariah then proclaims that “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us . . .” (Luke 1:78)

In his tender mercy, God is now incarnate in Jesus—he became flesh to live (literally “pitch his tent”) among us (John 1:14). So wherever we travel, Jesus is our constant companion and guide.


Prayer
Give us light, O Lord, as we sit in the darkness and shadow of death. Guide us to peace.


Let Go and Let God!

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12/23/15 12:57 P

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On Christmas Day - no fasting.

The Church Law is that if the day is a Holy Day of Obligation (for example every Sunday and then days like Dec 25, Dec 8, Nov 1, Aug 15, etc...) then one is never obliged to fast or abstain. (Different countries have different days of obligation, but Dec 25 is universal) If one wants to, once can certainly fast or abstain, but the Church would never ask it of the faithful.

Dec 24 however is a traditional day of fast and abstinence. Often on the day before a big feast, the Church asks us to fast to prepare ourselves better physically and spiritually for the feast we are about to celebrate. This is probably a good practice on any major eve of feast, but it is only required by the tradition of the Church on a few of them, such as the Eve of Pentecost, Eve of the Assumption and Eve of Christmas. So we should not eat any meat on Dec 24th, and we should fast on that day.


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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12/23/15 11:39 A

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Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Being open to God’s Word opens us up
to a greater understanding of the feast
we are preparing to celebrate.

Scripture
“All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.”
Luke 1:66

Reflection
These last couple of days before Christmas are days of great anticipation. Has all the shopping been done? Has the house been cleaned, the tree decorated, the cards sent out, the meals planned?

In the readings for today, we also see a time of anticipation. The Gospel readings will announce the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner and prophet who will proclaim the coming of the Messiah.

But not everyone will welcome John’s message. He comes, “…like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver . . .” (Malachi 3:2–3). These lines so beautifully sung in Handel’s Messiah are a serious call to repentance for all who prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth in their hearts.

God leads us forward, as the responsorial psalm tells us. God leads us in truth and teaches us that he is the God of our salvation for whom we wait all day long (Psalm 25:5).

In today’s Gospel reading, Elizabeth insists that her son will be named John (meaning, “God is gracious”). When Zechariah, who had been silenced because of his doubts that God would deliver him a son, is questioned, he confirms the name John, and his power of speech is returned. The truth frees Zechariah to give glory to God. Being open to God’s Word and the truth that he teaches opens us up to a greater understanding of the feast we are preparing to celebrate.


Let Go and Let God!

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12/23/15 12:45 A

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Earlier tonight i watched a favorite Xmas Cartoon. it had a song called "Even A Miracle Needs A Hand" The show talks a lot about faith. i guess that is why i like it

one part of the lyric is: "We’ll help our maker
to make our dreams come true
but we can’t do it alone
So what are we’re gonna do"

i sang along and liked the line but as i am doing my advent readings, i realize how we cant do it alone. we need God, our maker, but we are to do his will to see the miracles and share them with others.

Tammy, Scarlet Dragons, Time to Bloom
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12/21/15 7:29 P

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, SJ

Today, we remember St. Peter Canisius,
whose devotion to Mary continues to nourish us today.


Scripture
“‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’”
Luke 1:42

Reflection
Preparing for Christmas is also a time for proclaiming how salvation has been brought to us through Jesus and Mary. This was the vocation of St. Peter Canisius, SJ.

St. Peter Canisius (1521–1597) was a diligent evangelist in the era of the Reformation/Counter Reformation. He was the true founder of Jesuit publications, publishing catechisms that were translated into 15 languages and reprinted more than two hundred times in his lifetime. In more than 30 years of ministry, Peter traveled more than 20,000 miles on foot and on horseback. A preacher with a gentle heart, St. Peter also founded and reformed universities, and brought many Catholics and Protestants either back or into the Catholic faith.

Peter had great devotion to Mary. He believed that devotion to Mary was essential for promoting the Catholic faith. Peter printed a massive 780-page resource, called the Opus Marianum, in which he gathered all available references to Mary found in the Catholic tradition. He is also credited with creating the second part of the Hail Mary, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” This addition was officially accepted and included in The Catechism of the Council of Trent in 1566.

The story of Mary is prominent in these days before Christmas. Through the work and devotion of saints like St. Peter Canisius, Catholic teaching on Mary over the centuries has been preserved to continue to nourish Christians today.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/20/15 4:19 P

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

Mary is the first and greatest disciple, a model of faith for us all.


Scripture
“For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy.”
Luke 1:44

Reflection
In 2 Samuel 6 we read about David bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. David asks, “How can the ark of the Lord come into my care?” David asked the question out of fear, because the Ark had proven to be dangerous. Later, when the Ark was shown to be safe, David welcomes it into Jerusalem with joy, “leaping and dancing before the Lord.” (2 Samuel 6:16)

There is little doubt that Luke had these verses in mind when he tells us about Elizabeth welcoming Mary. But unlike David’s response to the Ark, Elizabeth feels no fear when she sees Mary, only intense joy. Elizabeth welcomes Mary, asking, “And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” (Luke 1:43) Not only Elizabeth but her unborn child receive the Holy Spirit, and he leaps for joy. Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant who brings the presence of the Lord into Elizabeth’s home.

Elizabeth continues to bless Mary, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45) Elizabeth recognizes that Mary has given herself totally to the Lord in faith. From the time of her saying, “Yes” to bearing the child, to witnessing Jesus’ death on the cross, Mary’s faith never wavered.

Mary is the first and greatest disciple, a model of faith for all Christians. Today, Mary continues her work of interceding for us so we may experience a deepening sense of the presence of Jesus Christ.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/19/15 10:12 A

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I like that idea Alicia! Sounds like fun.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/19/15 9:14 A

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Our advent calendar has been such a sweet success for us, I just wanted to share it here. We have one that has little drawers that usually had chocolates or sweets in them as we opened them each day. This year we didn't want to eat candy so we each wrote something we loved about the other and on the 24th there is a wish we wish for our spouse for the new year. It is so much fun to open each drawer and learn what someone thinks is special about us. My hubby and I share a very loving moment each day we open the drawer for the day.

Just wanted to share that.
God Bless


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12/19/15 8:36 A

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Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

A reflection on the quiet and persevering faith
of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

Scripture
“Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.”
Luke 1:6

Reflection
Preparing for Christmas as a holiday can be a frenetic experience—with multiple lists, scheduling conflicts, and decorating. Reflecting on the quiet and persevering faith of Zechariah and Elizabeth can be an effective antidote to the continual busyness surrounding us.

In the Old Testament and in Jesus’ time, a wife’s barrenness was seen as a sign of God’s displeasure. Every day when Elizabeth went out for water or to shop in the town square, she had to face the looks of condescension. She had not fulfilled her primary task of being a wife: to bear children to secure the family name. This “failure” was seen as grounds for a man to divorce his wife.

Luke tells us that Zechariah (which means, “God has remembered”) had no such a thing in mind. He knew the treasure he had in Elizabeth (“God is my fullness”) as they both “lived blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.” (Luke 1:6) Elizabeth and Zechariah represented God’s people who continued to be faithful and trust that God would act mercifully.

While serving as the priest in the Temple and offering the daily sacrifice of incense, Zechariah was visited by the angel Gabriel (“God’s warrior”). Zechariah learned that he would have a son who would be filled with the Holy Spirit before his birth (Luke 1:15). This son, named John, would turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord (Luke 1:16). Zechariah and Elizabeth were rewarded for quietly preserving their faith and recognizing that God would treat them with mercy. The same God calls us to recognize his continuing, quiet presence.


Let Go and Let God!

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12/18/15 5:10 P

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Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Joseph’s compassion for Mary reminds us all
to treat one another with mercy.

Scripture
“Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.”
Matthew 1:19

Reflection
Seasonal celebrations can be times of tension. Instead of joy, half-forgotten hurts can sometimes bubble up and cause friction. Joseph is a great example of how to act in these times of stress.

In biblical times, betrothal was the first stage of marriage. If the woman had a child, that child was accepted as legitimate. If she was unfaithful, her actions were considered adultery and she could be stoned to death (cf. John 8:1–11). When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, he could have denounced her. Instead, he decided to quietly give her a decree of divorce and not shame her.

Joseph’s decision to treat Mary with compassion and mercy opened him up to the Holy Spirit. An angel appeared to him telling him to take Mary as his wife, since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel said Jesus shall be named Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Joseph took Mary into his home and faithfully protected her as his family.

And Joseph protected Mary and Jesus on their frightful journey into Egypt. He agonized with Mary for three days as they searched for the 12-year-old Jesus in Jerusalem. Under Joseph’s guidance Jesus would continue to increase “. . . in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.” (Luke 2:52)

Joseph’s example and the decisions he made remind us to take a breath, to treat ourselves and one another with compassion and mercy. This opens us up to the grace of celebrating a new birth of Jesus in our hearts.


Let Go and Let God!

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12/17/15 4:05 P

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Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Through four women in biblical times,
we see God’s mercy extended.

Scripture
“May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.”
Psalm 72:4

Reflection
In the week before the celebration of Christ’s birth, the daily readings are more focused on leading up to this history-changing event. In the Gospel of Matthew 1:1–17, there is what seems to be an exhaustive genealogy of Jesus’ heritage from Abraham to Joseph, Jesus’ foster father. It was not Matthew’s intention to give an accurate historical rendering of Jesus’ ancestors—he instead was highlighting figures such as King David and his heritage, and following them through the Babylonian captivity (586 BC– 538 BC).

Of most interest are the four women who appear on the list. Tamar, daughter-in-law to Judah, seduced him so he would father a child who would continue the family lineage. Rahab was a prostitute who worked with the Israelites to save her family. Ruth was a Moabite who faithfully followed Naomi into Canaan and became the grandmother of David. Bathsheba was seduced by David, became his wife, and plotted to make sure her son Solomon inherited the throne. In highlighting the irregular contributions of these women, Matthew seems to set in context the extraordinary story of Mary who conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit.

The psalmist tells us that the coming ancestor of David will dispense the justice of God as king. God’s justice is not about completely equal sharing, but about seeing that the poor receive in mercy what they need to survive and flourish: “May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.” (Psalm 72:2)


Let Go and Let God!

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Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

We can discover God’s presence in our wounds.

Scripture
“When the men had come to him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’”
Luke 7:20

Reflection
There is no doubt that God acts in those times in our life when we experience success. So we sing songs of praise and thanksgiving. But if we were to limit our belief in God’s presence to just these times, then periods of stress, darkness, and failure would seriously try our faith.

So how do we find God in all situations, all times in our lives? Where do we find God in the world? In today’s first reading, Second Isaiah tells us that everything in the world reflects the presence of God. The Jewish people were experiencing the presence of God in a Persian ruler who decreed that they return to the Holy Land with the stolen treasures from the Temple. Isaiah tells them that history is on their side, that “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall triumph and glory.” (Isaiah 45:25)

Then in the Gospel we learn how Jesus answers the question of what it means to discover God’s presence in the world. Jesus replies “. . . Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.” (Luke 7:22)

Jesus discovers the presence of his Father in the wounds of the world, and he accepts the responsibility of bringing physical, spiritual, and social healing to the world. In the world’s wounds is also where all of the great saints have also found God’s presence. So they lay out a path for us to follow on our own journey in faith.


Let Go and Let God!

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12/16/15 12:10 A

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I often find myself getting annoyed with leaders who say one thing and then do another. sometimes i remember to chide myself as well for my shortcomings as well. i often act like i am an active catholic, but i really do not do as much as i should.

Tammy, Scarlet Dragons, Time to Bloom
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12/15/15 3:11 P

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Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Today, let us focus on cultivating humility
and listening to the Holy Spirit.

Scripture
“The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go.”
Matthew 21:30

Reflection
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus speaks of two sons. We ask ourselves which of these sons is more like us.

The first son is asked by his father to work in the vineyard and he refuses. Later he goes to work. The father asks his second son to work. The son says that he will, but then decides not to go. Jesus asks, which son actually did the father’s will? His listeners all agreed that it was the first son.

Jesus makes a point about who is really listening to him. In Galilee in Jesus’ time, the people considered the most shameful were tax collectors (agents of the Roman government) and prostitutes. Yet Jesus said it was these people—not the religious elite—who would be the first to enter the kingdom of God. They recognized their sinfulness, repented, and were welcomed. Those who saw themselves as saved and well-behaved but did not listen were not.

Pope Francis has made similar comments. He points out that those who “live by appearances,” so that they can fool themselves into believing that they are above reproach, are actually dead. Feeling spiritually comfortable is living in a state of sin.

We are called as Christians to recognize the continual need for conversion, for repentance, for listening to the Holy Spirit. That is why in this Advent journey we recognize that the prayer of the psalmist is our own: “My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.” (Psalm 34:2)

Prayer
Let us, O Lord, be among your servants who take refuge in you and are saved from every trouble.


Let Go and Let God!

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12/14/15 7:58 P

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Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Memorial of St. John of the Cross

Becoming a true disciple of Jesus takes planning—
and may make us uncomfortable.


Scripture
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2

Reflection
St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), whose memorial we celebrate today, taught that Christians need to detach themselves from anything that blocks their union with God. St. John’s belief in staying faithful to Jesus’ teaching on love and mercy was not popular. His fellow Carmelites thought he was extreme, so they imprisoned him, beat him, and starved him. Instead of feeling resentment, John experienced the greatest joy of his life when he was stripped of everything except his devotion to God.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus speaks of the challenge of discipleship. He is very blunt in his description of its priorities: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26–27)

Jesus also tells us that becoming a true disciple takes planning. A king getting ready for war sits down and evaluates his possibilities for victory. If the outcome does not look good, the king sends peace emissaries. A commitment to faithful discipleship requires the same careful consideration.

For us, Jesus’ words about discipleship raise questions about our assumptions and desires. God’s message is not always comfortable to hear. Today is a good day to reflect on what makes us most uncomfortable in what we’ve heard from the readings. Then pray for the insight from God to change what needs to be changed in ourselves.


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Third Sunday of Advent
Gaudete Sunday

On Gaudete Sunday, we look to the future with a spirit of joy.


Scripture
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”
Philippians 4:4

Reflection
All too often we face personal and social issues that cause us to feel hopeless, facing the world without a spirit of rejoicing.

Paul was faced with similar problems when he wrote the Letter to the Philippians. He was in prison, either chained to a jailer or with his legs stuck in wooden stocks that kept them widely separated for greater security and greater pain. The food he received was poor, and many prisoners suffered from malnutrition. But in the midst of his suffering, Paul calls on his fellow Christians to rejoice. He told the Philippians, one of his favorite communities, to offer everything in prayer and thanksgiving to God. God’s peace, centered on Christ, would guard their hearts and minds.

Even if we’re not discouraged or hopeless, we still have to face the realities of life and relationships. John the Baptist had practical suggestions for these situations: “Do not be too pretentious in dress; share what you have. Diligently do your job or whatever other tasks you have. Do not take advantage of those over whom you have authority. Be honest with your dealings. Do penance to prepare your hearts for the coming of the Messiah.” (Luke 3:11–14, adapted)

As this is Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday in anticipation of the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we are called to look with joy and anticipation beyond the issues of everyday life. This is not a self-imposed joy, but a gift of mercy that we receive from our Father.


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I am behind on a couple of my daily meditation readings, bit I am also on a Loyola email list so I am getting a daily email from them. a recent one of them was pretty neat. It talked about how hypocritical people can be when challenged. John the baptist proclaimed a message of prayer, repentantce and being ready. The leaders accused him of being possessed by the devil because he did not drink wine, had a strict diet. Jesus on the other hand took time to be welcomming people of different stations in society. He shared a joy of life and offered forgiveness. He was kind to the woman who washed his feet and dumped oil on them. Leaders accused him of being a drunkard and glutton. When challenged people will find fault in whatever you do. We should focus on doing what is right according to God and not worry about whe others think of us

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Saturday of the Second Week of Advent
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today we celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe,
who appeared to those on the peripheries.


Scripture
“A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”
Revelation 12:1

Reflection
One title for this reflection might be “Our Lady Visits the Peripheries.” It’s no accident that Our Lady has appeared to those on the margins of society. She appeared to a poor young girl in Lourdes, France, and three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. And in North America she appeared to a poor man named Juan Diego on December 9, 1531.

St. Juan Diego was a convert to the Catholic faith. As a newly fervent Catholic, Juan was on the way to the Franciscan mission when Mary appeared to him on the Hill of Tepeyac. Mary spoke to him in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec Empire. She asked for a church to be built on the hill in her honor. Taking her request to the archbishop of Mexico City, Juan was told he needed some evidence to support his story. Three days later, Mary pointed out a bush of Castilian roses, which are not native to Mexico, growing on the site. Juan gathered the flowers in his cloak. When he opened the cloak to the archbishop, the flowers fell out, leaving the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe imprinted on his cloak.

In 1999, St. John Paul II named Our Lady of Guadalupe Patroness of the Americas. She has been a source of healing and mercy, especially in Mexico and the rest of North America. This is one of the ways the words of Elizabeth are fulfilled, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).


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Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Following God’s words and instructions
will nourish us during this Year of Mercy.

Scripture
“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’”
Matthew 11:17

Reflection
It’s easy to see why Jesus might have been frustrated with some of the people in his time. His forerunner John the Baptist had come and proclaimed a message of repentance. John the Baptist fasted, refused to drink wine, and generally led a severe lifestyle. Because of these choices, he was accused of being possessed by a demon (Matthew 11:18).

When Jesus came to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God, he enjoyed some of the pleasures of life. He attended his friend’s wedding, changing water into wine (John 2:1–11). Jesus was hospitable, welcoming not only the leaders in Galilee to his table, but also those on the peripheries—the tax collectors and those who were seen as public sinners. So Jesus was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:19).

Following Jesus seriously can leave us open to criticism, too. So what can help us on the journey? Psalm 1 tells us that we will flourish if we follow the Law of the Lord. The Law is the teaching of the whole of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. It teaches us about people who have sinned, but were never abandoned by God. Those who believe in God and follow his instruction are like “…trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.” (Psalm 1:3)

As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas in this Year of Mercy, let us be nourished by God’s word.


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I met with our parish coordinator today. It is official - i am now a member of St Olaf's Parish. we did not talk long because i arrived at the end of the day. but i have a booklet of different information including ministires. this weekend is our cookie walk. i made a batch tonight and will make some more tomorrow.

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Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

As he has in the past,
God leads us through our troubles
to abundant springs of mercy.


Scripture
“I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.”
Isaiah 41:18

Reflection
The kingdoms of Israel and Judea sat at the edge of the eastern Mediterranean Sea in a dry climate. The people in biblical times were utterly dependent on the annual winter rains to water the crops, because the rest of the year was dry. Dry riverbeds or wadis were common during the summer. People crossing them could be victims of sudden storms in the north filling the springs with gushing water. Even in 2010, sudden torrential rains and flash floods in southern Israel and Egypt closed roads, took out bridges, and killed six people who were caught in the rushing waters. But today, as in biblical times, water was also the source of life and salvation in the desert. Here in Isaiah 41 the images of water are those of promise and hope.

Second Isaiah called the people to imagine a better future. Their time of repentance was over, and they had the opportunity to return to Jerusalem. The journey was filled with difficulties, but God promised life-giving springs of water in the dry land—just as he did to their forefathers in their Exodus journey. The people could move on in confidence, assured of God’s steadfast love and mercy.

The grace offered to these people traveling home are images for us to understand how God continues to journey with us, especially when everything seems dry and we feel abandoned. The people were called to place their hope in God, and we are called to hope in the same God, who will lead us through our trials to abundant, rushing springs of mercy.
Pope Francis
“The Word of God is the light that guides our journey, nourishes our faith and regenerates it.”
Angelus, St. Peter’s Square, 6 January 2015

Advent Action
► Learn what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops teaches about the human right to clean air and water.
► Learn more about the Year of Mercy.
► Find other Advent resources to enhance your journey.

Prayer
Lord Jesus, help us to come to you when we are carrying heavy burdens so you can lead us to springs of mercy.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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Thank you Bob...I am reading your posts and enjoy them..
emoticon

I especially like songs. emoticon

I have a Christmas carols book..I love music. emoticon

Edited by: ELIZACG9 at: 12/10/2015 (10:39)

Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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I couldn't agree with you more! So true! We have been holding Bible studies with Advent music discussions, and last Friday had our Eucharisitic Adoration and had the largest number of people in a long time.

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In our parish, we also had Breakfast with Saint Nicholas, as well as an Advent Wreath Workshop on Christ the King Sunday, and this Friday is "Friday Night Fever" Eucharistic devotions for Advent.

I am convinced that the best way to encourage Cathloics to celebrate Advent during Advent (instead of starting Christmas a month early) is to make Advent interesting, fascinating, spiritually fruitful and something you just don't want to miss! We don't need to scold people to stop celebrating Christmas too early - we need to make Advent something people look forward to.

So keep those Advent traditions coming!

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ADVENT DAY 11 – IMAGES OF SINFULNESS
by Bishop Robert Barron

452 47 172

We all know that Lent is a penitential season, a time when Christians get in touch with their sins. But Advent, too, has a penitential dimension, and for a very good reason. Advent is the season during which we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Savior. But there is no point in having a Savior unless we are deeply convinced that there is something we need to be saved from.

This kind of awareness is at the core of the twelve-step process for those suffering from addictions—one is helpless, powerless, and has hit bottom.

The prophet Isaiah gives us a great focus for our meditation in Advent, for he offers us a whole series of images and pictures to describe our sinful condition. Remember, the Biblical authors, for the most part, were not systematic thinkers; they were poets and so they use poetic language. Take this wonderful and terrible line: “all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind” (Isaiah 65:5). When we have become deeply aware of our sin, we know that we can cling to nothing in ourselves, that everything we offer is, to some degree, tainted, impure. We can’t show our cultural, professional, and personal accomplishments to God as though they are enough to save us.

As Isaiah says, we are like withered leaves. God’s grace is the life-force and when we are divorced from it, our lives wither up. We become like the field of dry bones in Ezekiel or the Prodigal Son wandering in a land of famine. Here is where the law of the gift comes into play: when you are lifeless, make of your life a gift, and you will come back to life.

Can you identify with any, some, or all of these images? If so, that means you are moving into the Advent spirit, awaiting a Savior. As our most famous Advent song says, “O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.”

When we are aware that we are waiting for the Son of God, then we are ready for the hope of one last image: “Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are all the work of your hands.”

Your life is not about you. You are being shaped by a higher power for his purposes. You are waiting for the potter to do his work.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Mary’s “yes” made it possible for us all to be saved.


Scripture
“Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’”
Luke 1:38

Reflection
Pope Francis has chosen December 8, 2015—the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception—as the first day of the Jubilee of Mercy. The Immaculate Conception celebrates a miracle of grace, of Mary’s birth free from original sin. The Scripture readings summarize the history of salvation leading to Mary’s response to God. In saying “Yes!” to God, she made it possible for us all to be saved.

In today’s first reading, the story of Adam and Eve, we see a scenario that may sound familiar if we’ve ever bickered about accepting responsibility for breakdowns in our relationships. In Adam and Eve’s conversation in Genesis 3, we first see the man blame the woman for his decision. Then the woman blames the serpent for her decision. In breaking their relationship with God, the man and the woman live in mistrust of each another, resulting in tragic consequences.

When the proclamation of salvation finally came, it arrived in a quiet way that is so moving. It began with a visit by the angel Gabriel to a woman in prayer. Mary discovered that she was highly favored by God, a phrase later translated as “full of grace.” She then heard God’s request that she become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. Mary learned that this would be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s “Yes!” resonates in history with the fullness of God’s mercy.

As we begin this Year of Mercy, Mary will be our guide and companion, leading us to the love and mercy of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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Monica
Co-Leader Team Tea-lightful
Co-Leader for The Alternate-Day Diet Team
Short term goal: 165
Living in Mankato, MN.


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emoticon emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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ADVENT DAY 10 – THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
by Bishop Robert Barron

404 32 51

The Immaculate Conception, not to be confused with the virgin birth of Jesus that we celebrate on Christmas, is the dogma that teaches that even from the first moment of her own conception, Mary was rescued from the power of original sin. Christ, who receives his human flesh from his mother, receives this flesh from a person who, by a singular gift from God, comes into this world without original sin. To understand the significance of this fact, we need to go back to Eve and the original sin.

The Church Fathers often made a connection between Eve, the mother of all the living, and Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. In fact, they saw Mary as “the new Eve,” the one who undid the damage done by Eve.

Our first parents, Genesis tells us, were given a garden in which to flourish. They were given free rein, permission to enjoy and eat of any tree in the Garden, save one—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why the prohibition? Because the very best things are not taken; they are received as gifts. God did not block their access to the tree because he wanted to prevent them from having what he had; he blocked access because he wanted to give them gifts.

Now let’s turn to Mary. The angel’s greeting to her is important. He says, “Hail Mary, full of grace.” Mary is greeted as someone who is able to accept gifts. Eve and Adam grasped; Mary is ready to receive.

The angel then explains to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…” At the heart of the spiritual life is the conviction that your life is not about you, and this is precisely what Adam and Eve couldn’t tolerate. They grasped at God and tried to seize his gifts. But the real spiritual life is about allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by the one who loves us, to be carried away by the Spirit.

Mary is someone who is ready to receive the impossible, and this it precisely what makes her the paradigm of Advent faith.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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ADVENT DAY 9 – MOUNTAINTOP VISION
by Bishop Robert Barron

352 48 42

Continuing with our focus on Isaiah, during the beginning of Advent, the prophet asserts, “Many peoples shall come and say, ‘come let us climb the Lord’s mountain…that he may instruct us in his ways and we may walk in his paths’” (Is 2:3).

For the classical philosophers, wisdom is obtained from the hilltop, because the hilltop is where we see how everything fits together and finds harmony. It is a place of rarified air and clarity of vision. And it is precisely this place that the Church calls us to witness the connection whereby we all remain uniquely ourselves but are also all united to each other through love.

The problem is that sin blocks this view and prevents this union. We are caught in the myriad debates, disagreements, and battles predicated upon our own wills, and we lose sight of the larger picture.

From our vantage point, the world is not like the vision Isaiah presents. But it should be, and it will be under the direction of God’s grace. Consider Isaiah’s next line: “He will judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Is 2:4).

Here is one of the most powerful and important elements of this mountain-top vision. The divine center will establish an ordo, a design, among the nations. And the great sign of this will be peace. The nations will take their weapons of war and turn them into instruments of cultivation.

What’s the lesson for us today, during Advent? When we see the world clearly, our energies are properly directed and they become life-giving and not death-dealing. So what are you doing today to catch Isaiah’s vision and bring life into the world?

Let Go and Let God!

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My parish did a st nicolas event for children. they had songs, some crafts and a visit from st nicolas and his story. i took my nieces. the younger one perked up when she heard he was a saint for children. it was alot of fun. i got to spend time with them, it was a little educational and good for their hearts.

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ADVENT DAY 8 – THE AXIS MUNDI
by Bishop Robert Barron

269 35 25

Let’s return to the image of the holy mountain, which we’ve focus on so far during Advent: “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it” (Is 2:2).

This is a beautifully archetypal image: Jerusalem as the axis mundi, the pole of the earth, the center, the still-point around which everything turns. It is the place of communio, of connection. Here all peoples, while retaining what is proper to them, nevertheless come together in unity. No one dominates or manipulates another, but rather all are one in their distinctiveness because all have found the same center.

This is a picture of what God intends for the soul and for the nations of the world: all remain themselves, but all are connected to each other through the center.

Now there is a most interesting parallel to this reading in Isaiah, found in the Gospel of John: “When the Son of Man is lifted up from the earth, he will draw all people to himself” (Jn 12:32). This, of course, is Jesus’ own self-description. When he is lifted up on the cross, he will unify the whole human race.

What a surprise and paradox! The vision of Isaiah is fulfilled, but not as we might have expected. The mountain of the Lord is a dung-heap outside of Jerusalem, the skull-place, Mt. Calvary, where the Son of God is crucified.

The cross is the place where the divine love is most radically on display. God’s power, God’s godliness, is most fully revealed precisely in the place of self-emptying love, where he takes on our suffering and gives us his life. This must become the center of all that we are, all that we think, and all that we choose.

Let Go and Let God!

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I posted a blog...went to a Rorate mass Saturday 6 am..

have you ever been to this type of mass??

Have a nice Sunday... emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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12/5/15 9:31 A

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ADVENT DAY 7 – RETHINKING OUR LIVES
by Bishop Robert Barron


What will the Second Coming look like? It will involve a complete re-thinking and re-working of our lives. To find out why, let’s turn to a lyrical passage from the second chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, a section of Scripture for which I have a special affection: “In days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills” (Is 2:2).

As we learned a couple days ago, the mountain of the Lord’s house is Mount Zion, the place of the Temple. This means that in the age of the Messiah, the worship of the living God will be the center and summit of life, the good above any and all goods.

When we worship the true God, we become interiorly and exteriorly ordered; from adoration, right order flows. But how will this play in a society in which the vast majority of people have stopped worshipping God? How will it play in a world in which sex, pleasure, money, power, and honor are regularly worshipped?

Well, look at Isaiah’s next line: “all nations shall stream toward it and say: ‘Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain…that he may instruct us in his ways.’” We in our dysfunction like to set up boundaries, divisions, and separations. We like to keep our people in, and everybody else out. I don’t know how happy we’d be with all nations streaming together to one place, but this is precisely what God wants.

More to it, on this mountain, Isaiah tells us, we’re all going to take instruction from God. How do you think that will play in our self-asserting, self-esteem society, going its own way on its own terms? To say that Jesus is coming is to say that the Lord is coming, the Lord who teaches and governs and masters.

This is what the coming of Christ the Lord means. It will cause us to re-order our worship toward God, welcome all people into the Kingdom, and submit to the Lordship of Jesus.

Christ is coming soon, and with him this radical shift. Are you ready?

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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ADVENT DAY 6 – THE DAYS ARE COMING
by Bishop Robert Barron

442 53 64

The earliest Christian text we possess is 1 Thessalonians, written sometime in the early fifties of the first century. Paul tells this little church, which he had founded, to be ready for the coming of the Savior: “Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones” (1 Th 3:11-13).

Paul had seen the risen Jesus, and everything else in his life fell away. Everything he had considered central—the law, his livelihood, his own tradition—now appeared to him as “rubbish.” Everything was re-arranged around this new massive reality of a crucified man having come back from the dead.

The Resurrection meant that God was truly the Lord of history, that all of the suffering, anxiety, and injustice of the world would be conquered and that a new, transformed life was held out to us. And so now the obligation was clear and simple: start living life in accord with the coming Christ.

Wait and watch for him, for a new world is undoubtedly coming. Paul almost certainly felt that this new world would fully emerge in his own lifetime, but though he was wrong about that detail, his recommendation is of permanent value.

As Paul tells the Thessalonians, in light of Christ, risen from the dead, the old world is marginalized, disempowered, and passing away. And therefore, those who live in accord with Christ are, in fact, on the winning side.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/3/15 11:05 A

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ADVENT DAY 5 – GOD’S HOLY MOUNTAIN
by Bishop Robert Barron

Waiting, expecting, hoping, anticipating—somehow these speak to the depths of our hearts, probably because our whole existence here below is characterized precisely by these attitudes. The world is filled with wonderful things and experiences—deep joys and satisfactions. But we all know that nothing here below finally satisfies us or gives us the joy that we ultimately want. In fact, it is usually the best times in life, rather than the worst, that awaken in us most fully this longing and searching.

No matter how much we know, we want to know more; no matter how much we love, we want greater love; no matter how much beauty we attain, we sense that there is a perfect beauty that we haven’t seen. This attitude of longing is ingredient in the structure of our consciousness.

The prophet Isaiah was someone who knew this attitude well. He gives us, in the second chapter of his book, an image that has burned its way into the consciousness of believers up and down the centuries: the image of God’s holy mountain, the place where the deepest longings of the heart are fulfilled.

Where is this holy mountain? Well, the mountain of the Lord’s house is Zion, where the temple of Yahweh was situated. It was the place of right praise. According to the Bible, the key to happiness, and the fulfillment of our longing, is nothing other than right praise and worship of the true God. For when we give glory to God in the highest, we rightly order all of our desires: we love God first and then all other things for the sake of God.

Bad praise—getting this order out of whack—is always what goes wrong with us. When we allow the mountains of wealth, or pleasure, or power, or honor to become the highest mountain, we experience emptiness and longing.

But when the worship of the true God is established as the highest mountain, then it will function as a magnet, drawing all people to itself. This beautiful image all of the tribes and nations streaming toward Zion haunted and continues to haunt the religious imagination of believers all over the world. It’s to that mountain we go.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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12/1/15 8:09 A

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emoticon emoticon emoticon

You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

-from The Little Way of Advent

Edited by: ELIZACG9 at: 12/1/2015 (08:23)

Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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12/1/15 8:07 A

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We're in Advent. May the Holy Spirit help us to prepare our hearts to receive Our Lord!
Let's prepare to Spark our way through the Christmas season! emoticon

Edited by: CATHOLICCORGI at: 12/1/2015 (08:10)
Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!
Nothing tastes as good as living with less pain feels!


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