Abraham’s Expectation

Second Friday in Advent
oooAbraham’s Expectation
From beginning to end of Scripture we discover stories of people who are compelled to wait.

The patriarch Abraham received the promise that he would become, despite his old age, the father of a son and through that son the father of descendants more numerous than the stars in the night sky. But the fulfillment of that promise was a long time in coming. Through many years, as he and his wife grew older and older, as the likelihood of their parenthood became increasingly remote, Abraham waited.

Did he doubt? Did he wonder whether he had misconstrued the divine promise? Did he waver in his faith? Did he endure the taunts of his enemies and the pitying glances of his friends? Probably. But he waited, and in time the promise came true.

The season of Advent reminds us that God sometimes completes his will only after a long period of time. So, like Abraham, we wait.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK December 4-10, 2016

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

lionandlamb

The unusual image of the lion lying down with lamb appears in this week’s readings. Is 11: 1-10     Again, the reference to the end of time is vivid.  Rather then, being afraid, we can see the presence of an all loving and compassionate God, who will judge with justice.  In this end time picture we see peace entering into the world forever

The lion and lamb image moves on to the child and the cobra in Isaiah’s reading.  This is moving closer to profound meaning of these images.  Images or symbols always have a deeper meaning, and these are shoving us to look deeply at reconciliation.  This is the ultimate resolution of conflict and violence. However, the motive for this reconciliation is love and respect, not fear, power, pressure or economic gain. A wish for the good of the other and future healthy relationships moves the process to the coming  of the Kingdom of God.  This Second Week of Advent provides us with reflection on the true meaning of Jesus’ coming.

Little Christmas, December 6, gives us an opportunity to enter into a quick celebration of Christmas.  A sharing of a small gift, whether that be a hug, a “thank you” or present, will make the anticipation of the “big” day more fun.  St. Nicholas, a bishop of the fourth century, who was born in present day Turkey is the basis for the person we call Santa Claus.  He was the giver of secret gifts to help the poor.  Reading the whole story of his life would be a treat.

St. Ambrose has special meaning for St. Augustine School, because he is responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine, aside from the fact that his mother, Monica prayed for him incessantly.  Ambrose was the Bishop of Milan and a staunch supporter of the two natures of Jesus, human and divine – a basic dogma of the Church. He is a Doctor of the Church, who was one of the most influential ecclesiastical person of the 4th century.  He is honored on December 7th.

The first great Feast of Mary in December is the 8th – The Immaculate Conception.  This feast speaks of the preparation of the cradle in which Jesus, the Son of God, would rest and develop for nine months.  St. Ann conceived Mary without the consequences of the first sin. Ann must have been a very holy woman, as well as, her husband, Joachim. Little did they know, that their gifted child, Mary, would become the mother of the Messiah.

On the 9th we celebrate St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzn, a young indigenous man, to whom Mary appeared in Mexico. His cloak became the background on to which Mary imprinted her image to convince the bishop of the truth of her appearances to Juan and her message.

This week provides so many wonderful stories, that it will take time to reflect upon the meaning and application of these lives to our own.  May you be inspired by these stories of salvation history and get busy and write your own story with the goodness of your life. Jesus is your companion.

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF Director

 

Week 1 -almost over! Really???

Christmas is the season the promises to touch our deepest needs and to meet our deepest longings;  it is the story of God remembering us, caring about us, and squeezing himself into time and space, drawing near …”Exploring Advent with Luke”  Timothy Clayton

If we believe that, then why the do we continue to live life as though nothing changes for these 4 weeks of Advent.  We see the purple, the special candles, the prayers, the Advent wreath, and yet,we put our shopping list ahead of our prayer list.  Does anyone still believe in the story of God’s Love?

Let’s take a look at Luke’s gospel (do you have your Bible handy?) and read it as a beautiful love story.  Luke is known as cropped-eaf51e927ed35ee7be0f100073111cb8.jpegone who tells a good story, a parable. Luke opens with disappointment, both Zechariah and Elizabeth were good people, they could not have children.  Luke just doesn’t leave the story like that, no he adds to the plot.  It was Zechariah’s turn to enter the temple, and it was there that “an angel of the Lord” appeared to him.  So much for surprise, now what?  Who is going to believe me when I tell them this?  Then the angel says ” Do not be afraid Zechariah, your prayer has been heard.” (Lk 1:11-13a)  “your wife, Elizabeth will bear a son and you will name him John.”  (Lk 1:13-14)

Today we are going to look at disappointment and joy.  Have you ever been faced with these two very real feelings?  Our Lord and Savior will come to us, are we ready?  How did Zachariah and Elizabeth handle the news?  How did they prepare for the birth of their son?

The first week of Advent is almost over, did it make a difference to me, was I aware of it?

How am I preparing for the real meaning of Christmas?  Don’t miss out on the real joy, peace and love of this season.  It’s a heart, mind and soul thing!

In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron.

6 Both were upright in the sight of God and impeccably carried out all the commandments and observances of the Lord.

7 But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both advanced in years.

8 Now it happened that it was the turn of his section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God

9 when it fell to him by lot, as the priestly custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there.

10 And at the hour of incense all the people were outside, praying.

11 Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense.

12 The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear.

13 But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you shall name him John.

14 He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth,

 

First Wednesday in Advent

oooFirst Wednesday in Advent
The Days are Coming
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.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK November 27-December 3, 2016

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
vvvFROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

November 27-December 3, 2016

“Let us throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light…put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 13: 11-14 What a beautiful image of clothing ourselves with Jesus! There is such intimacy in the clothing we wear.  That is the bond to have with Jesus.  As a young religious, we were instructed to kiss each item of our habit/garment as we put it on. If we are clothed/armored with Jesus, this light will reflect the goodness of God to all we meet.

In Isaiah 2: 1-5 the challenging image of “beating swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks,” reminds us that God calls us to peace, not violence.  Advent is a time for us to re-access our tendency to violence – anger, impatience, meanness, stubbornness and coldness. It is a time to renew our prayers for all those suffering from the ravages of war and the conversion of the perpetrators.

Advent is also the wonderful season of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We wait expectantly with her for the miracle of this special child.  We reflect on the meaning of this unusual child.  The Angel Gabriel called him the “the Son of God.” Luke 1:35 Mary wondered at this revelation – so strange, so unknown in her religion’s tradition, but she trusted in the word of the angel.  Joseph walked at her side and protected her, even though he, too, had to be a man of faith. These two people are the examples for our following the Christian path.

St. Andrew, an Apostle, the brother of St. Peter, was the first apostle called by Jesus.  He was originally a follower of St. John the Baptist. Later, he introduced Peter to Jesus.  He preached in Asia Minor and as far off as Russian.  He was martyred on an X shaped cross in Greece.

St. Francis Xavier co-founded the Jesuits along with St. Ignatius of Loyola. Francis evangelized in Asia, reaching India and Japan. He was considered a kind and gentle man.

May you walk this Advent with great joy and expectation of wonders to come.

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF

Director

1st Week in Advent

Lectio Divina for Week 1   taken from the USCCB

Matthew 24:37-44
Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming
of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man
will come.”