From Scott P. Richert, your Guide to Catholicism
How are your preparations for Christmas coming? No, I don’t mean putting up the Christmas tree, picking out the Christmas goose, or baking Christmas cookies. I’m talking about our spiritual preparations, which we all too often set aside in the hustle and bustle of the season. If that’s been true for you this year, you might take a look at a series I did a few years ago on “Reviving Advent.” A little time spent in Advent can lead to immeasurable joy at Christmas.
On Wednesday, December 8, 2010, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop David Ricken of the diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, officially approved Marian apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion, Wisconsin. The three appearances by the Blessed Virgin Mary in October 1859 constitute the first approved Marian apparition anywhere in the United States.
Christmas is just 15 days away, and we’ll pass the halfway point of Advent on Saturday. One very good way to slow down and take stock of our spiritual life is to set aside time to take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession.
Certain Sundays throughout the liturgical year have taken their names from the first word in Latin of the Introit, the entrance antiphon at Mass. Gaudete Sunday is one of these. But what does “Gaudete” mean, and what does this Sunday signify?
- Reading for the Second Friday of Advent
The Lord, Isaiah prophesied, would destroy the vineyard–the house of Israel–because His Chosen People had abandoned Him. In Isaiah 27:1-13, however, the Lord restores the vineyard and gathers the just to worship Him in Jerusalem, the symbol of Heaven. The “children of Israel” are now all the faithful.
- Reading for the Second Saturday of Advent
Isaiah once again prophesies the Lord’s judgment upon Jerusalem. In Isaiah 29:1-8, we see that His judgment will be swift and overwhelming, like a horde of nations descending in war.
- Reading for the Third Sunday of Advent
In Isaiah 29:13-24, we see that the Lord has passed His judgment on Israel, whose obedience to His Word is, at best, merely out of habit. Indeed, many of the children of Israel no longer even acknowledge Him as Lord. Therefore, the gospel will be preached to all nations by Christ.
- Reading for the Third Monday of Advent
As we await the birth of Christ at Christmas, we also look forward to His Second Coming and, in the words of the Creed, “the life of the world to come.” In Isaiah 30:18-26, the prophet gives us a glimpse of that world: no more hunger; no more pain; the Lord Himself living with us; man and the earth completely healed.
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