Keep your eyes open!...


December 21, 2006 


(Luke 2:10-11) And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people: For, this day is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.

By St. Gregory of Nazianzus(AD 380)

Christ is born, glorify Him. Christ from heaven, go out to meet Him. Christ on earth, be exalted. Sing to the Lord all the whole earth; and that I may join both in one word, let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope.

Again, the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar. The people who sat in the darkness of ignorance, let them see the great Light full of knowledge. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. The shadows flee away, the truth comes in on them. Melchizedek is concluded. He who was without Mother becomes without Father (without mother of His former state, without father of His second). The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled. Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him. O clap your hands together all you people, because unto us a Child is born, and a Son given unto us, whose government is upon His shoulder (for with the cross it is raised up), and His name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father. Let John cry, prepare the way of the Lord; I too will cry the power of this Day. He who is not carnal is Incarnate; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Let the Jews be offended, let the Greeks deride; let heretics talk until their tongues ache. Then shall they believe, when they see Him ascending into heaven; and if not then, yet when they see Him coming out of heaven and sitting as Judge.

This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God - that putting off of the old man, we might put on the new; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him. For I must undergo the beautiful conversion, and as the painful succeeded the more blissful, so must the more blissful come out of the painful. For where sin abounded grace did much more abound; and if a taste condemned us, how much more does the passion of Christ justify us? Therefore let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own, but as belonging to Him who is ours, or rather as our master's; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation.

VIA Mekhael Frizzell: Holy Supper - Christmas Eve

Among Byzantine Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, there is a beautiful custom surrounding Christmas Eve. The family gathers to pray and eat together on the eve of the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The day before Christmas is a strict abstinence. No meat (fish is considered meat) or dairy products are eaten.Usually the supper is composed of twelve courses - in memory of the twelve apostles. There isn't an order that the food is eaten.

The supper begins after the first star appears in the sky. The table is covered with a white cloth to represent the swaddling clothes of the Christ child. Straw or hay is often placed under the table or under the table cloth and sometimes on top of the table to remind us of the simple surroundings of the cave in which Christ was born.

A large loaf of Bread (Artoklasia) is the centerpiece of the table, Representing Christ - the Bread of Life. It is the first food distributed by the head of the household. A Candle is placed in the center of the table and sometimes even the in the center of the loaf of bread to represent the Star of Bethlehem. Raw garlic is dipped into honey and eaten to remind us of the bitterness of life in this world and the promise of the sweetness of God's Kingdom through the Incarnation of Eashoa Msheeho (Jesus Christ).

The Holy Supper begins with singing of the Troparion of the Nativity:

"Your birth, O Christ our God, has shed upon the world the light of knowledge: for through it, those who worshiped the stars have learned from a star to worship You, the Sun of Justice, and recognize You as the Orient from on high. Glory be to You, O Lord."

Various carols are sung between the courses, as the supper progresses.

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

6. He also said, 'If you really want to, by the evening of one day you can reach a measure of godliness.'

December 19, 2006 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "The joy that the (Christmas) liturgy awakens in the hearts of Christians is not reserved only for them" but is "destined for all of humanity, in a special way the poorest, in this case, those most lacking in joy," Benedict said from his window overlooking the square, which was made festive with a towering Christmas tree.

"Let us think of our brothers and sisters who, especially in the Middle East, in some areas of Africa and in other parts of the world, are living through the drama of war. What joy can they experience?" the pope said. "What will their Christmas be like?"


The head of Iraq's Chaldean Christian minority, Patriarch Emmanuel Delly has appealed on safety grounds to Christians in the war-torn country to refrain from any public celebrations for Christmas. Delly's decision was "motivated by the grave security situation in the country," the Chaldean patriarchate's Vicar Shlimon Warduni told Adnkronos International (AKI). The gesture was also meant as an "act of solidarity with the faithful of other religions, especially Muslims," Warduni added.

"Patriarch Emmanuel has asked the Chaldeans to fast for two days and to pray so that the country can overcome this pain and implore God to bring peace and security," he added.

The Chaldean Church and Eastern-rite Roman Catholic community numbers some 1 million people, most of whom live in Iraq where Muslims make up some 97 percent of the population.

In the sectarian violence that has blighted Iraq since Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, Christians who have been accused by extremists as agents of the West have frequently been targetted in murders and kidnappings prompting many to flee abroad.

EXCERPT: O, Muslim town of Bethlehem...

Bethlehem's hotel owners estimate that tourist numbers have dropped sharply, from 91,276 each month for the millennium celebrations in 2000 to little more than 1,500 a month now.

During the past six years, 50 restaurants, 28 hotels and 240 souvenir shops have closed.

Samir Qumsieh is general manager of Al-Mahed - Nativity - which is the only Christian television station in Bethlehem.

He has had death threats and visits from armed men demanding three acres of his land - and he is now ready to leave.

"As Christians, we have no future here," he says.

"We are melting away. Next summer I will leave this country to go to the States. How can I continue?

"I would rather have a beautiful dream in my head about what my home is like, not the nightmare of the reality." 


Iraqi Christians under fire
Christians Under Siege in Pakistan
Can Lebanese Christians survive Islamic divisions?

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

5. Allois said, 'Until you can say in your heart, "only I and God are in the world," you will not be at peace.'

December 15, 2006 

(Psa 103:8,10) The Lord is compassionate and merciful: longsuffering and plenteous in mercy. He hath not dealt with us according to our sins: nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.


So we hope for the coming of Christ, we hope to spend eternity with God and we should use Advent to prepare. While it is true that the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is only required if a mortal sin has been committed, the Sacrament has an immense spiritual value. It is a vast source of grace and since we don't know when death comes, let us always be in the state of grace. The Blessed Virgin Mary at Medjugorje recommends that we go to confession once a month. During Advent it is certainly recommended to go to Confession as a suitable preparation for the Birth of Christ.

A daily or weekly examination of conscience will lead to a more meaningful reconciliation experience when one could identify trends in our life and behavior which can stand improvement. Then, also try to attend daily Holy Mass during this time of preparation and maybe try to make that a permanent part of your morning.

LINK: Helpful Hints For Confession! By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P.

VIA Nadine: Forgive Yourself

There are many people in the world that have a problem with forgiving themselves of their past mistakes. God is a God of love and compassion who wishes to forgive and restore all who come to Him. Never feel as if you are beyond redemption. God is able to turn your mess into a miracle.

I hope the following story will minister to you if you are having trouble forgiving yourself, or feel as if God will never forgive you of your past mistakes.

A woman is dying of AIDS. A minister is summoned. He attempts to comfort her, but to no avail.

"I am lost," she said. "I have ruined my life and every life around me. Now I'm going painfully to hell. There is no hope for me."

The minister saw a framed picture of a pretty girl on the dresser. "Who is this?" he asked.

The woman brightened. "She is my daughter, the one beautiful thing in my life."

"And would you help her if she was in trouble, or made a mistake? Would you forgive her? Would you still love her?" the minister asked.

"Of course I would!" cried the woman, "I would do anything for her! Why do you ask such a question?"

"Because I want you to know," said the minister, "that God has a picture of you on His dresser."

Author Unknown

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.'

December 14, 2006 

(1Pe 3:15) But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.


VIA Jean Marie: Who Started This Christmas Stuff?

A woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable; and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year - overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened, and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed, she couldn't take it anymore and she stated, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot."

From the back of the car, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond, "Don't worry, we already crucified Him."

For the rest of the trip down in the elevator, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. This year, don't forget to keep "the One who started this whole Christmas thing" in your every thought, deed, purchase and words. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.

VIA Jim Bramlett: If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one this Christmas, the following message is for you. Also if you are not suffering from that loss, but know of someone who is, why not forward this message to them. For it has ministered to many over the past few years! It is called:

"My First Christmas In Heaven"

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here. I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring. For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart But I am not so far away, We really aren't apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones, You know I hold you dear.
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessing or love he has for each of you.
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

Author Unknown

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

1. A brother asked Arsenius to give him advice. He said to him, 'As far as possible, try hard to make your inner progress as God would have it, and by this overcome the passions of the body.' He also said, 'If we seek God, he will appear to us; if we grasp Him, He will stay with us.'

December 13, 2006 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "It is the job then, of all believers ... to help elaborate a concept of laicism that on the one hand gives God and His moral laws, Christ and His church the place it deserves in life ... and on the other affirms and respects the legitimate autonomy of terrestrial realities. Religion, like the church, must be recognized as a public, community presence."


Christmas play axed in celebration of political correctness
A clash of seasons
Holidays have meaning beyond gifts


Pope Benedict XVI has denounced terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons and has described hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia as 'an attack on peace'.

The Pope's views are expressed in a message marking the Church's Jan 1 World Day of Peace, which was published by the Vatican Tuesday.

'The duty to respect the dignity of each human being, in whose nature the image of the Creator is reflected, means in consequence that the person cannot be disposed of at will,' the Pope writes.

'As far as the right to life is concerned, we must denounce its widespread violation in our society: alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia.

'How can we fail to see in all this an attack on peace? Abortion and embryonic experimentation constitute a direct denial of that attitude of acceptance of others which is indispensable for establishing lasting relationships of peace.' In his message, the Pope also calls for 'international accords for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons' and denounces the difficulties facing Christians in professing their religion in some societies, including in the West.

'There are regimes that impose a single religion upon everyone, while secular regimes often lead not so much to violent persecution as to systematic cultural denigration of religious beliefs.

'In both instances, a fundamental human right is not being respected, with serious repercussions for peaceful coexistence. This can only promote a mentality and culture that is not conducive to peace.'


The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

118. A hermit said, 'The cowl we use is the symbol of innocence, the scapular which covers neck and shoulders is the symbol of a cross, the girdle, the symbol of courage. Let us live our lives in the virtues symbolized by our habit. If we do everything sincerely, we shall not fail.'

December 12, 2006 



Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday he was greatly worried by recent developments in the Middle East, and urged the international community to commit to seeking "urgent solutions" to the burgeoning crisis in Lebanon.

"I am following with great worry what is happening in the Middle East, where glimmers of a solution to the crises that plague the region are alternated to tensions and difficulties that make us fear new violence," Benedict said in an address from his window overlooking St. Peter's square following his traditional blessing.

"Lebanon merits a special mention. Today, like yesterday, people of different cultures and religions are called to live there to build a nation of dialogue and cohabitation and to achieve the common good," the pontiff said.

The political crisis in Lebanon has taken dangerous sectarian lines, with most Sunni Muslims supporting the Sunni prime minister and Shiites backing Hezbollah. Christian factions are split between the two camps.

Benedict pleaded with the Lebanese and their political leaders "to have to heart exclusively the best for their country and harmony between its communities, inspiring their commitment to that unity that is everyone's responsibility and asks of each of us patience and perseverance, along with permanent and trusting dialogue."

RELATED: Lebanese Cardinal Says Tone of Speeches Points to Trouble Ahead


Fear of the Arab powder keg
Hamas Chief Promises War Even if PA State is Established
In Golan Heights, Israeli-Syrian tensions are on the increase
Israel's barrier in Jerusalem causes major upheaval

ANALYSIS: 2007 - The Year of War

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

117. A hermit said, 'The prophets wrote books. Our predecessors came after them, and worked hard at them, and then their successors memorized them. But this generation copies them onto papyrus and parchment and leaves them unused on the window-ledge.'

December 8, 2006 


LINK: The Immaculate Conception of Mary

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "When God knocked on the door of her youth, she received him with faith and love. Let us be attracted by her beauty, reflection of divine glory, so that ‘the God that is coming’ will find in each one of us a good and open heart, which he can fill with his gifts."

VIA Joseph: Father Peter Mary Rookey, J.M.D. sent me a reply for a prayer request from Maria. I had skin cancer and was lamenting how far behind in house chores I was getting.

"We pray to our loving Lord Jesus, to send the Holy Spirit upon you .... and upon all you hold dear to Bless, Heal, Protect and Guide you on your journey thru this Life on Earth, Amen".

"We pray to our Mother of the Most Sorrowful Heart to Bless you all with her loving Child Jesus, Amen. "In the name of Jesus Be Healed, Amen."

Joseph why are you in a hurry to go nowhere, unless you are working for Jesus, helping those in need, If not try reading the Bible, take time to Read and understand what He is saying to You, there is a way to Learn His words, take your time to know and understand Him and His Love."

What Fr. Rookey was saying was take time to Pray. We can only go so fast, multitask so much before we begin to lose time instead of gain time. So, SLOOWW DOWN and enjoy that next steak.

Jesus will be here soon enough! 


THE FOLLOWING STORY WAS SUBMITTED BY PING GILBERT… I want to share this grace moment with you because yesterday, I was blessed to have kissed the face of the Jesus.

Are you cold??? I am frozen, but not as cold as street people with nowhere to go. After morning Mass yesterday morning the “Thibodaux homeless street lady”, Joyce (a retired school teacherLKabout 75 years old), showed me a $20 bill (a gift that had been given to her by someone leaving Mass). She told me that somebody “nice” had given it to her, but she didn’t need it and she wanted to give it to the church because the church needed it more. I told her she should keep it, but she insisted she wanted to give it to the church (the cooks at the Rectory regularly feed her). When she asked me where she could put it, I showed her the “poor box”. She insisted however, that I take the money and put it in. Needless to say, I reluctantly took her money and did as she asked. She seemed so happy to be able to give it away. I then gave her a big hug, but she cringed and told me she smelled too bad for me to get that close. So I then leaned forward and kissed her and told her “you smell just like Jesus, Joyce…and that is sweet”. (She actually did have a sweet smell.J) She smiled a said “nooooooooooo”.

No, I am not usually good to the needy. I normally ignore Joyce (although I do silently say a prayer for her and give God thx for her life whenever I see her walking the streets dressed in garbage bags - literally). She walks the streets, cleans around trash cans, picks up when people like me throw things down, and rarely ever asks for a help out. She is harmless and wants nothing. This is the first time however, that I have ever seen her in church (trying to stay warm). Funny…she was afraid of smelling bad when I hugged her. She doesn’t know how sweet she smelled. Ummmmmmm, as Mother Teresa would say, “Jesus is found in the disguising distress of the poor.” You would have kissed her too. It was a grace moment for me. Yesterday, I kissed the face of Jesus!

VIA David J Sheehan: This looked like to me one of the best ways to get our troops home in one piece:

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

114. Some hermits used to say, 'If you see a young man climbing up to heaven by his own will, catch him by the foot and pull him down to earth for it is not good for him.'

December 7, 2006 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "In Advent, the liturgy often repeats and assures us, as though seeking to defeat our mistrust, that God is coming. He comes to be with us, in each one of our situations; he comes to live among us, to live in and with us; he comes to fill the distances that divide and separate us; he comes to reconcile us with himself and with one another."


According to the HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Advent "has a twofold character: It prepares for the commemoration of the Incarnation … and it looks forward to Christ's second coming at the end of time." Pastors say that second message is even harder to push through the wall of commercialism that Christmas in America has become.

Arthur J. Dewey, a theology professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, said it was difficult to reconcile the festive, celebratory dimension of Christmas with the serious contemplation of the Apocalypse that Advent is also meant to provoke.

"It doesn't seem psychologically appropriate to people to equate Jesus' birth with the end of time," said Dewey.

But in Sunday's reading, from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is clear about the terrifying days that will precede his second coming. "There will be . . . distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."

In his homily on last year's first Sunday of Advent, Burke spoke of the "healthy fear" appropriate in Advent. That fear, he said at St. Augustine parish in St. Louis, "leads us to be attentive to what we think and say and do."

Preparation in Advent reminds people of the daily groundwork they should be laying "for the return of Our Lord to us in glory on the Last Day," said Burke. "Our Lord reminds us, in the Gospel, to be watchful, to be alert, preparing each day to meet him at his second coming."

The emphasis in Advent on the end times, said Dewey, "is not to scare people, but to get them to think about the seriousness" of Christmas.

ADVENT PRAYER (circa 1549)

“Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.”

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

111. Another hermit said, 'A man ought always to be working at something in his cell. If he is busy with the psalms, the devil comes to him day after day but finds no resting-place there; even if he succeeds in conquering him and taking him prisoner, God's spirit often comes to him again. But if we are sinners and do not let God's spirit come to us, he will leave us alone.'

December 6, 2006 

(John 6:69) And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

VIA Sue Cifelli:  Fr. Luke, the human author of the homily which follows, has graciously shared this message with me, that I might pass it on to you.

HOMILY: During the Turkish domination of Bosnia-Herzegovina, twelve Franciscans of Herzegovina origin decided to build a monastery in their ancestral land, as a sign of faith.

Coming from Kresevo in Bosnia, they chose the locality of Shiroki Brieg and settled in this village.

After having bought a large piece of land at a dear price, they began the construction of the church, dedicating it to The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.

Immediately after, they began the construction of a monastery, with a seminary as well.

A scholastic center was built nearby which contained a grammar school.

There the friars taught the young generations of Bosnia Herzegovina.

A house was also built for all of those who came from afar in order to attend school.

The site became a Christian cultural center and the shrine was transformed into a symbol for the entire region of Herzegovina.

Exactly one hundred years later, the monastery was destroyed and devastated.

On February 7, 1945, the communist partisans decided to destroy the symbol of Shiroki Brieg from its very foundations.

They arrived in Shiroki Brieg in the afternoon and found 30 friars in the monastery.

Many were teachers in the grammar school behind the monastery. Some were as young as 19-20 years old.

The communists said: "God is dead, there is no God, there is no Pope, there is no Church, there is no need of you. You also go out into the world and work."

With threats and blasphemies they sought to persuade them to leave their religious habits.

The friars replied: "We are consecrated friars; we cannot renounce our habits."

Then an angry soldier took the Crucifix from the Church and threw it on the floor.

"So there", he said, "now you can choose either life or death, choose life!"

Each one of the friars knelt down, embraced and kissed Jesus; holding tightly the Cross on their chest, each one of the said, as St. Francis did:

"You are my God and My all."

Full of rancor and hate, the persecutors then took the friars one by one. They led them out of the convent and slew them.

Then they strewed the bodies with gasoline and burned them.

The friars met their fate praying and singing the Litany of Our Lady.

These events have been witnessed by the soldiers that were part of the firing squad.

One of the soldiers was shocked by the heroic conduct of the friars.

He related "Since I was a child, in my family, I had always heard from my mother that God exists. To the contrary, Stalin, Lenin, Tito have always asserted and taught each one of use: "There is no God, God does not exist!"

But when I stood in front of the martyrs on Shiroki Brieg, and I saw how those friars faced death, praying and blessing their persecutors, asking God to forgive the faults of their executioners, it was then that I recalled to my mind the words of my mother and I thought that my mother was right - God exists!"

Today that soldier has converted and one if his sons has become a priest and a daughter is a nun.

In today's first readings we heard:"If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve; the gods your fathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve The Lord."

In the Gospel Jesus asks the question:

"Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

Those friars made the same decision that Joshua made, that Peter and the apostles made, that they would serve the Lord and they paid the price with their blood.

The sway of popular opinion, of peer pressure, cultural and political trend and, yes, oppressive regimes, did not deter them from following the truth. They did not embrace a lie!

We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.

We do not live under the oppression of the communists and face the hardships of many throughout the world.

But we do live in a culture that is more and more hostile to the Truth of Christianity.

And there are many opportunities we face each day to witness to the Truth Who is Christ.

Do we take a stance? Or do we embrace a lie?

Are we like the crowds in today's Gospel who walked away because it was too hard?

We have not even faced death for The Gospel.

The call of today's Gospel is for a more complete and heroic faith.

A faith that perseveres in the face of opposition. And this faith is in the person of Jesus Christ. The Way, The Truth, and The Life, Who loved us so much that He died for us and opened the gates of paradise for us.

It is significant that today's Gospel is at the end of the Bread of Life discourse. For it is here that Jesus reveals that HE is The Bread of Life. He is the One who gives us strength. He gives us His very body and blood so that we may have abundant life.

The apostles and friars knew this in a very deep way.

It was for love of Him, not the concept of Him, that they were able to die for Jesus.

If we shy away from the small opportunities we encounter throughout the day to witness to Jesus, perhaps we need to renew our faith and love of Him, especially through His presence in the Eucharist.

We should receive Him devoutly, properly disposed and in the state of grace.

Today in this Eucharist, we thank the Lord for the witness of the martyrs.

We renew and deepen our faith and devotion to Him in this sacrament, and we beg Him for the grace to witness to Him Who is Truth, for we have come to believe and are convinced that He is the Holy One of God.

Jesus, You are My God, and My all.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

110. He also said, 'Because we have come to live in the desert we need to work hard praising God. If we are not going to undertake hard bodily labour, we must labour all the more praising God.'

December 5, 2006 

(Mat 24:44) Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.


As Advent unfolds we will be reading many Scriptures such as Mat 24:44 quoted above in regards to the coming of the Son of Man.  Perhaps miraculously but certainly by the will of God, the Trib Times returns again this week to meditate on these words.

I have been feeling overwhelmed of late.  Everything seems to be moving so fast.  Time just doesn't seem to allow for everything that needs to get done.  Certainly I've been busy before but this is different.  Seems like the days are just shorter.

Like many others I have responded by doing everything faster. I walk faster, talk faster and above all I multitask.  Doing two things at the same time is child's play.  Three or four simultaneous tasks is not at all unusual.

But for a few short moments last week, time did slow down.  It almost stopped.

You see I was wolfing down my steak dinner so that I could hustle back up to the computer and get more work done.  But I forgot one important detail.  I forgot to chew my steak before I swallowed.

That was when time stood still.

As I struggled to swallow, I realized that I couldn't. I then tried to breathe through my nose but realized that I couldn't do that either.  I looked across the room at my wife and instantly she knew.  Her face changed in a microsecond and tears already seemed to be welling up in her eyes.

Another attempt to swallow was just as useless.  "Drink something quickly", she gasped.  

I tilted my head back to drink from a wine glass but it all just dribbled out of my mouth when I straightened back up.  The path was clogged; there was no place for it to go.

Time continued to stand still.

I stood up from the table and struggled to say (or perhaps lip-sync) one word as I looked over to my older son.  


As I moved away from the table to give him more room, I prayed for my son.  "Oh God, if he is unable to dislodge this, he will blame himself for not saving my life". "Please God, don't put him in this position", I pleaded.

Then, without my son having to lay a finger on me, I swallowed.  Through the will of God, I could breathe again.  


(Mat 24:44) Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

109. Another of the hermits said, 'If our inner self behaves soberly, it can control the outer self: but if the inner self does not do this, what other means is there of controlling the tongue?'

December 1, 2006 

(1Th 4:1-2) For the rest therefore, brethren, pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus that, as you have received from us, how you ought to walk and to please God, so also you would walk, that you may abound the more. For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus.


LINK: Praying Advent- A rich and powerful season of the Church year

Reflection by Father Ted

My dearest Lord Jesus, as we approach the end of the Church year, You have indicated to me that I need to focus on several issues.

First of all, You have wanted me to reflect on the fact that You created me to not merely know and to love You, but also to serve You in this world by my service to others and, of course, to be with You in heaven.

Heaven is my ultimate goal – for that is where I will be able to enjoy Your Presence perfectly forever.

I need to keep in mind these facts daily.

But at the same time You want me to accept all the gifts that You want for me so that I can know You and love You as well as serve You in my service to others.

To use these gifts I need to know myself. Unless I know myself how can recognize all that You have given to me. Of course, part of the role of my parents and other mentors has been to assist me in discovering these gifts.

And as I become aware of what these gifts – abilities are, I need to use them.

And as I use these gifts – these abilities, I will become aware of how You have given to others their gifts which complement those that I have received.

As we share these gifts together – for the benefit of others, they become aware of the gifts that You have given to them which are meant for the benefit of us and others.

There are so many different gifts that You have given to so many different people for their mutual benefit.

These gifts are both natural and supernatural.

For these gifts enable us to live as members of Your Mystical Body.

These gifts enable us to bring You and Your love and Your life to others.

At the same time, we need to realize that there are obstacles to our recognizing these gifts, to our accepting these gifts, to our using these gifts. There are obstacles to our living Your life on earth.

The chief obstacle is a person – the evil one. He is the one who tries to blind us so that we won‘t recognize our giftedness; he is the one who tries to hinder us from accepting our giftedness; he is the one who strives to persuade us not to use these gifts or to misuse them.

He strives to persuade us not to know You – so that we won’t be aware of Your incredible love for us. He strives to persuade us not to focus on our ultimate destiny. He strives to make us focus mainly on the here and now – on enjoying ourselves – even at the expense of others.

He is the one who tries to persuade us to use others – in order to satisfy our wants. He does not want us to serve others.

Jesus, help me to become more aware of his strategies so that I can resist his assaults.

Jesus, help me to become the man, the priest that You want me to be for the salvation of others.

Jesus, may I do Your will always.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

108. One of the hermits said, 'When first we used to meet each other in the assembly and talk of what was helpful to our souls, we were always withdrawn more from the things of senses and we ascended to the heavenly places. But now when we meet we spend our time in gossip, and so we drag each other down.'
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