Fully Alive: Weekly Message for
1-17-17

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Weekly Message

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

The first time I met a missionary was back in the mid 1980s. A young woman visited our classroom to share with us her yearlong experience in Ethiopia caring for orphaned children affected by famine. Still to this day, I remember vividly the story she shared of asking a severely malnourished young girl what she wanted to be when she grew up. The young girl simply answered, “alive”.

In his famous line, “The glory of God is man fully alive” Saint Irenaeus reflects the same deep desire God has for us to truly live. God blesses us each day with gifts and opportunities to thrive, not just merely to survive.

Tomorrow we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25, 2017) overlapping with the Nine Days for Life, January 21-29, 2017. Both events encourage addressing the challenges that thwart the possibility of ‘man living life to the full’. “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) is the theme for prayer, gatherings, events etc. during this upcoming Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It proposes that we recognize the pain of the subsequent deep divisions which afflict the unity between people, families, communities, and the Church.

In a similar way the Nine Days for Life prepares us for the largest pro-life gathering, the March for Life on Friday, January 27, 2017, and reminds us that in order to rebuild a culture of life and Christian unity, we must begin with an authentic, interior spiritual renewal. To truly live and be instruments of peace, love, joy, hope, forgiveness, and mercy we must first be deeply committed to a life in Christ through prayer and the sacraments.

So, let us be united in praying and working for Christian Unity and for the protection of life this month. At RC Spirituality, we hope that our resources help you to give God glory in living to full a life in him. By sharing a Retreat Guide, a Spiritual Smoothie video, or finding an answer for your question at Ask a Priest, you can invite others to taste the goodness of God, and hunger for more of His divine life.

God bless you!

In Christ,
Lucy Honner
lucy@rcspirituality.org


THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST:
Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon) (11)

January 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Finding the Plug

Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon)

“In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty, …”

In Christian art there is a recurring theme of an angel at the foot of Christ’s Cross on Calvary holding out a chalice to catch his Precious Blood as it drips to the earth. In some depictions that angel is bearing the chalice toward Heaven. The celebrant in this moment of Mass bows as we all pray that spiritually the offering of Christ’s Body and Blood may be presented to the Father.

The origins of this prayer are lost in time, and the “holy Angel” in this prayer may also refer to Our Lord himself. When he offered himself on the Cross and died he bore his own flesh and blood into eternity as an offering to the Heavenly Father. He is now alive and glorious in the Heavenly liturgy that continues for all eternity. Even as we ask that the gifts be taken to Heaven Our Father looks upon the gift of his Son on our behalf.

We can’t take our offerings to Heaven personally, until the last day of our earthly life when we take our self-offering to Judgment and, by God’s grace, glory. Everything we do should also be lived in a spirit of offering to the Heavenly Father through his Son. It’s a good moment to see whether something we’re doing with our life wouldn’t be a pleasing offering as well.

These gifts are shocking if we forget that Our Lord said to do this in memory of him. On Calvary Our Lord was executed for our crimes, not his own, and now we present him to his Father hoping that it will please him. Can you think of any father who would be pleased by such a horrible thing? The only Father who fits the mold is a Father who knows that his Son offered himself out of love for those who are now entreating his mercy, and appreciate the sacrifice of Father and Son. It’s no wonder the celebrant keeps his head bowed in this moment; our hearts should be just as contrite.

“…so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son, may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing.”

The celebrant in this moment stands straight after his bow and makes the Sign of the Cross, just as we usually do when someone imparts a blessing upon us. We make the Sign the Cross upon receiving a blessing because we know the Most Holy Trinity is the source of all grace and blessing, no matter who invokes it upon us.

In this moment of the Eucharist we all hope that the Lord is showering down his grace and blessing upon us. However, our hope in this moment is that the grace and blessing will come through receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist. The greatest grace and blessing is communion with God; communion with God is nourished and strengthened by receiving him in the Eucharist.


Do Not Be Afraid: Weekly Message for
1-10-17

January 9, 2017 by  
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Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

A new year, a new liturgical season (Ordinary Time). What do those means mean, from God’s perspective? At the very least, they echo God’s eagerness to give us as many chances as we need for a fresh start. This is why New Year’s is a joyful time, or why it’s supposed to a be joyful time. We complete the past year, offering all its blessings and all its shadows and failures into the merciful hands of God, and we set out on another annual journey of faith. Like Bilbo Baggins setting off from Bad End, we feel a pep in our step as we go out on a new adventure.

That’s one reason why we thought it appropriate to release our new Retreat Guide now. It is called: Do Not Be Afraid: A Retreat Guide on St. John Paul II, now. He truly was a man who lived his life to the full, because he lived it as the adventure of faith that it really was. The phrase “Do not be afraid!”, which he used in his inaugural homily as pope, and which he repeated many many times throughout his pontificate, resonates with the hope that we instinctively feel at New Year’s, or at any new beginning.

For me personally, working on this Retreat Guide was a true gift. My conversion to the Catholic faith, the discovery of my priestly vocation, and my ten years in seminary all unfolded in the bright and warm light of St. John Paul II’s papacy. Before joining the seminary, I studied for a time in Krakow, Poland, and felt the impact of his presence there. Then, as a seminarian, I had the grace to serve his Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica more than once. Along with my other priests of my generation, I feel like JPII was a true spiritual father to me. Going back over those experiences as I researched and wrote this Retreat Guide was a true pleasure.

So, as the new year and the new liturgical season get into gear, let’s take St. John Paul II’s advice. Let’s cast aside our fears and renew our faith in the Lord, who has great things in store for us in the coming months, because his love for us is true and total.

God bless you!
Peace in Him,
Fr John Bartunek, LC
contact@rcspirituality.org


THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST:
Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon) (10)

January 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Finding the Plug

Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon)

 “Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them,…”

When you offer someone a gift, no matter how perfect and thoughtful it may be, the recipient is not obliged to accept it and may even be suspicious of why the gift was offered. A gift establishes or acknowledges a bond, but so does a bribe or a purchase. When we offer something to Our Father, he doesn’t just look at the offering, but at the heart that is offering it. It is the heart that determines whether the offering is a gift or an attempt at a bribe.

“…as once you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, …”

In the Roman Canon we try to express in what spirit we are offering the holy and spotless victim to Our Father using other figures from salvation history who really showed the love for God behind their sacrifice and also foreshadowed the sacrifice of God’s Son that is occurring in this moment of the celebration of the Eucharist.

Abel (see Genesis 4:1-10) offered the best of his possessions to the Lord: the choicest sheep from his flock, which was his livelihood, and their best portions. Genesis recalls that “the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering.” In contrast, his brother Cain, a farmer, simply offered the Lord some produce, not his best produce; the story doesn’t say that explicitly, but the Lord’s reaction confirms it: “for Cain and his offering he had no regard.” Cain becomes angry and dejected, and the Lord encourages him to do “well,” not just go through the motions, if he wants acceptance. Cain ignores the Lord’s advice and not only commits the first murder in salvation history by killing his brother Abel, but also becomes a pariah for doing so, unaccepted everywhere, simply because he didn’t think the Lord was entitled to the best. In the Roman Canon we recall “Abel the just”: a just man’s death directs our thoughts back to Christ, the most just man slain for being pleasing to God by those who weren’t.

Abraham was an old man with no property and no children, and the Lord revealed himself to him in a world full of “gods” and promised him a land to call his own and a great lineage (see Genesis 12:1–3). He set out from Haran at seventy-five years of age based on a promise. His faith in this promise had rocky moments, but finally the Lord made good on his promise and blessed him with his son Isaac. Abraham had waited twenty-five years (see Genesis 17:17–19) and suffered greatly waiting for his son. He was delighted, but the Lord saw a danger and decided to test Abraham by asking him to sacrifice the son for whom he had waited and suffered for so long (see Genesis 22:1–2). As he took his son up a mountain in Moriah Isaac asked him a question that must have cut him to the heart (see Genesis 22:7-8). Isaac knew they were going up the mountain to worship and sacrifice, but he didn’t know his role: “Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham responds with a profound act of fact and faith: “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” Abraham wasn’t exactly lying for two reasons. First, because his little son Isaac was provided by God, perfect in the eyes of his father, and the greatest sacrifice he could give, as blameless as a lamb. Second, because his response could also be an act of faith that the Lord, in the end, would not ask him to go through with sacrificing Isaac. In the end, the second reason prevailed, and the Lord provided another sacrifice and blessed Abraham for his obedience that was willing to sacrifice something so precious to him. The Lord spared Abraham’s son, but on the Cross he did not spare his own Son for our sake, a Son innocent, loved, and blameless, just like Isaac. Some Church Fathers see Jesus as being the real Lamb that was sacrificed instead of Isaac.

Melchizedek is an enigmatic figure in the Old Testament who seems to come out of nowhere, the king of Salem and “priest of God Most High” (see Genesis 14:18). The author of the Letter to the Hebrews notes that Melchizedek is literally translated as “king of righteousness,” and Salem is translated as “peace” (see Hebrews 7:2). So we’re faced with a king of righteousness and peace who is also priest. Is that starting to sound familiar? In the Letter to the Hebrews a connection is observed: “[Melchizedek] is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever” (Hebrews 7:3). Notice that Melchizedek is like Christ, not the other way around. Christ is not only the victim being offered, he is offering himself as the victim: “when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come… he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11–12).

“…a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.”

As the author of the Letter of the Hebrews points out, sacrifices until Our Lord had been attempts of resolving something with God, but by substituting a lesser thing on behalf of a greater one: an animal, some food, wine poured out in libation. Only the best was acceptable, not just because of its objective merit, but because it was the best in the heart of the one offering it. In our case something much greater is being offered on behalf of something much lesser: Our Lord is offering a sacrifice that is meant to atone for our sins, sins that would have called for us to die in sin if Our Lord had not offered himself instead.

We can’t just think of Our Lord or his offering as our lucky day, finding a windfall for a big payoff, with that windfall only mattering to us to the degree that it gets us out of a jam. We can offer the most perfect, holy, spotless victim in the world, but if we don’t appreciate it as such, that offering will not be accepted kindly by God on our behalf, because to us it is not the best we can offer. The Lord put Abraham to the test because he was idolizing Isaac more than he was idolizing God. Do we love Our Lord for being our offering to the Heavenly Father? Do we offer him to the Father in love and as the most precious thing we possess? God is the only one whom we should truly idolize, to his glory and for love.


Resolved: Weekly Message for
1-3-17

January 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Weekly Message

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

The Year of Mercy officially ended November 20, on the solemnity of Christ the King. Fortunately, God’s mercy has a longer run.

Pope Francis emphasized that point in Misericordia et Misera, his apostolic letter marking the end of the Year. “Mercy” he wrote, “cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the Church; it constitutes her very existence.” In other words, mercy rolls on.

That is a point worth keeping in mind by those of us enticed by a perennial favorite: the New Year’s resolution.

What is the connection? An essential ingredient of God’s mercy is that he doesn’t give up on us. “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard ‘delay,’ but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

God won’t give up on us even when we feel tempted to give up on ourselves. And that is what can happen by mid-January — when even the best of resolutions might be gathering dust on the shelf. This human tendency to falter could be why some people shy from making resolutions altogether.

But life need not be like that. The arrival of a new year helps remind us that things can begin again.

Life – our spiritual life – can start over. Errors from the past can be confessed and left in Our Lord’s hands. We can move on and recalibrate our lives in the direction of Christ, confident that he has a short memory for our faults and long expectations for our holiness.

If you need an idea for a New Year’s resolution, consider doing one of our online retreats (http://rcspirituality.org/retreat-guides/) monthly or every other month.

I wish you a blessed 2017.

God bless,
Father Edward McIlmail, L.C.
Ask a Priest contributor
contact@rcspirituality.org


THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST:
Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon) (9)

December 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Finding the Plug

Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon)

 “Therefore, O Lord, as we celebrate the memorial of the blessed Passion, the Resurrection from the dead, and the glorious Ascension into heaven of Christ, your Son, our Lord…”

The word “Therefore” makes everything that follows in the Roman Canon hinge on what has come before, but also salvation history. On the simplest level “Therefore” just refers to what we just heard in the Institution Narrative: that we are celebrating the Eucharist in memory of Our Lord, just as he instructed us to do on the evening of the Last Supper.

Why do we celebrate the Eucharist? Not just because Our lord instructed us to, but also to remember and be embraced by the Paschal Mystery that culminated in what we now celebrate during the Sacred Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday to Easter Vigil). The Paschal Mystery extends from that night, to the present, and continues into the future. The “Therefore” is not just due to one command on one evening: we celebrate it because of the Lord’s Passion, death, and Resurrection. We also celebrate it due to his Ascension. As he ascended into Heaven Our Lord promised us he’d be with us until the end of the age (see Matthew 28:20). Matthew’s account doesn’t make specific mention of Ascension, but from the other Evangelists we know this was the moment. There’s no contradiction: Our Lord’s now in Heaven, but he is also with us through the Eucharist that he left us to celebrate in memory of him.

In Luke’s account (Luke 24:50-53) Our Lord begins to bless them as he ascends and continues blessing them all the way into Heaven. The disciples respond to his Ascension with worship and joy, returning to Jerusalem and “continually in the temple blessing God.” In this moment Our Lord continues to bless us through the Eucharist, and we remember with worship and joy not only what Our Lord has done for us, but that he is the Son of God and Our Lord.

“…we, your servants and your holy people, offer to your glorious majesty from the gifts that you have given us, this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, …”

It’s only in faith and in memory of the mysteries of Christ that lead us to this moment that we can look upon the Bread and Chalice on the altar and see them not just as food, but as a Victim to be offered. The age-old quandary of those trying to please someone they love is what to give the person who has everything. If we face that dilemma for a parent, a spouse, a child, it becomes an order of magnitude more challenging when we try to please the God who is everything, has created everything, and has need of nothing. If Our Lord hadn’t told us what to offer and become that offering we’d be eternally stuck, and not just metaphorically.

This pure victim is offered entirely as victim. He offers himself completely and unreservedly for that purpose: to be offered to God. In a news piece once on deceptive labeling someone noted that you could package sewage and label it, “100% pure”; after all, it is completely, authentically, and totally sewage. The real question to ask is, “pure what?” Our Lord in his self-offering is completely, authentically, and totally sacrificed for our sake.

This holy victim is something that would be pleasing to God, who is holy and expects nothing less. Our Lord taught his disciples not to throw pearls to swine (see Matthew 7:6), and the reverse is also true: you don’t throw something worthy only of a pig to God. It’s no coincidence that Our Lord also teaches the parable of the Pearl of Great Price when he describes the Kingdom of Heaven: this victim is so precious that he is priceless, and that makes him the perfect gift for Our Heavenly Father. Nothing pleases the Father more than holiness.

This spotless victim is not the black sheep of the family either. A pearl has value to the degree that it is perfectly formed and without flaw. Our Lord as the Son is perfectly formed and flawless, always has been, and always will be, but in his Incarnation he has also completely and perfectly grown and matured in manhood and done his Father’s will to the letter. No worthy Father would consider anything more precious than his own family. There’s nothing in this victim that would make the Father raise an eyebrow; he’s not only his precious Son, but a good Son in everything.

“the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.”

We’ve considered how valuable this victim is to God, but we must also remember how precious and priceless he is to us. God already has eternal life, and he is in no need of salvation. For us this victim is indispensable to achieve both. His perfection as victim also consists of how perfect an offering we consider him. A gift between two people who care about each other strengthens and establishes a bond between them. We’re offering Our Lord to Our Father, but in the offering Our Lord, who is with us until the close of the age, is also presenting us to his Father. We’re giving the greatest gift to Our Father that we’ve been given, and the bonds from that exchange should always fill us with love and devotion to Father and Son.


Hopeful Resolutions: Weekly Message for
12-27-16

December 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Weekly Message

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today within the Solemnity of Christmas, an event so big in salvation history that we celebrate it with an eight-day octave, we also honor St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. John first met Christ when he was young, and, according to tradition, he was the longest-lived apostle. Thanks to John we have a prolonged meditation on Christ’s divinity and grandeur, from the Word being with God and becoming flesh to dwell among us (see John 1:1-5,14), all the way to the Lamb standing before the throne of God and adored for all eternity (see Revelation 5).

The old year concluding and the new year beginning are often depicted as an old man departing and a newborn arriving. In John’s case, despite his long life, one thing remained young: his love for Christ. From being chosen by Christ, to writing his Gospel, to his old age his disciples remember him enjoining them to love one another, because for him love was enough.

In his First Letter he marveled, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are (1 John 3:1).”God the Son became flesh so that he could become our brother and we could become the Father’s children. The Father has given us his Son; that’s the Christmas gift we celebrate every year, and the brief liturgical season of Christmas would seem to not do it justice if we lost sight of the fact that this gift is given and to be given throughout the whole year. John’s love was ever young because he learned it from Our Lord.

The end of the year is a time to take stock of resolutions, kept or broken, and to make resolutions for the year to come. Paul reminds us that Our Lord came to save us no matter how good or bad we’ve been: “…one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7–8). If Our Lord has loved us and continues to, let’s learn from him and from John and make concrete resolutions to love in this New Year. Advent and Christmas are often a time to consider where and when we’ve not loved enough; the newborn in the manger will fill us with hope in order to love more and better this year.

May God bless you in the New Year and always.

Father Nikola Derpich, L.C.
Author, Finding the Plug
contact@rcspirituality.org


THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST:
Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon) (8)

December 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Finding the Plug

Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon)

 “The mystery of faith.”

For more on this moment in the Eucharistic Prayers, see Eucharistic Prayer III (4).

In Eastern-rite Churches the sacraments are called “mysteries”: μυστήριον. Even before Christianity “mystery” as a religious term represented the belief that through certain celebrations of worship the deeds of a god were made present for that religion’s initiates. In those religions only those who were initiated into the mysteries could participate; it was for a select few. That is the palest shadow of the mystery of faith we contemplate in the celebration of the Eucharist. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians describes the mystery of Christ in a way that refutes any exclusivity when it comes to the mystery of Christ:

[The mystery of Christ] was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel…(Ephesians 3:5-6).

In Paul’s moment of salvation history he marveled at the saving plan of God being revealed  to also include the Gentiles, not just the Jews. Salvation history is a mystery that keeps unfurling and straining to extend to everyone, not just an exclusive few.

Bishop Marcello Semeraro defined the Biblical meaning of mystery as a divine, transcendent, salvific reality that in some way is revealed and made manifest in history (cf. M. SEMERARO, Mistero, comunione e missione, EDB, Bologna 2008,p.13). Every sacrament is a sign that commemorates the past, effects something in the present, and testifies to the future; it connects us to the past, present, and future of salvation.

As the celebrant invites us to consider the mystery of faith, our hearts and minds in this moment can turn to the wonderful fact that in this moment, salvation history wants to reach me. As the Body and Precious Blood just consecrated sit upon the corporal on the altar the great mystery we try to fathom is that through them Our Lord is not only present to us, but his work of salvation extends to us as well. Christ in mystery sits upon that altar and invites our faith.

The work of our salvation didn’t conclude with our Baptism, nor can it be put on hold until the day we ask for the Anointing of the Sick just before we go to meet our Maker. From birth to burial we need to bask in the saving mystery of Christ; the more “exposure,” the more benefit, not only for us, but for all those we love. We can’t just let salvation history make a stop to visit and then continue on its way; we need to unite our life’s journey with Christ’s, and we do that through prayer, the sacraments, and living a holy life.

Faith not only helps us identify the mystery; it draws us into it. Let’s stay connected, in faith, to the mystery of Christ in order to follow him and never fall behind or lose touch.


THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST:
Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon) (7)

December 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Finding the Plug

Eucharistic Prayer I (The Roman Canon)

“In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands,…”

A chalice should be constructed of precious, non-breakable materials, but it is not that alone that makes it precious. It becomes a treasure because of what it contains. It is not guarded under lock and key in sacristies just because its materials are valuable, but because that chalice will hold the Precious Blood of Our Lord. Having been in touch with the sacred, it becomes sacred. In faith we know that in the Eucharistic species, whether the Body or the Precious Blood, Our Lord is sacramentally present, body, blood, soul, and divinity. In the Precious Blood he becomes the most vulnerable and the most in need of our care and reverence.

“… and once more giving you thanks, he said the blessing  and gave the chalice to his disciples, …”

He not only offers this chalice for us, he offers it to us. Even if we don’t receive the Precious Blood directly in every celebration of the Eucharist, in Communion we receive his blood, blood that was and is shed for us. Coming in contract with the sacred, we become bearers of his Body and Blood; that’s meant to make us sacred too. The way we treat each other should reflect the fact that Our Lord has shed his blood for every one of us, whether we act in a way worthy of that dignity or not.

“… saying: TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND DRINK FROM IT, FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT, WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.”

Throughout the ups and downs of Israel’s history the people would gather in worship to renew the covenant sealed by Moses at Mt. Sinai with a ritual involving the blood of a sacrifice. In every celebration of the Eucharist we renew that new and eternal covenant established by Our Lord through his blood. Receiving him in a few moments in Holy Communion is our opportunity to renew the covenant, and now his Body and Precious Blood are present, waiting for us to come anew into contact with the sacred and forgive the lesser faults and failings of our daily struggle for holiness. In this moment, as we gaze upon him, upon his blood, in the chalice, let’s remember what he’s done for us.


Light in the Darkness: Weekly Message for
12-13-16

December 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Weekly Message

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:

Where I live, winter is arriving. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer; the darkness is spreading. But today, St. Lucy’s Day (“Lucy” comes from a word meaning “light”), is a good day to remember that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). In fact, when it comes to seeing lights in the distance, we can actually see farther in the dark than in the light. At night we see the stars; during the day we don’t.

This play between the light and the darkness is woven throughout the liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas. I hope and pray that you have been able to dodge the frenetic pace of the secular version of these seasons in order to find time to contemplate that. But even if you haven’t, there is still time. The wonder-full Solemnity of Christmas is just around the corner.  And you can still steal away and find a morning, or an afternoon, or an hour or two, to be alone with the Lord and talk to him about what that means for you, in the current moment and season of your own life. I know he has something to say to you, because he never stops thinking of you, never stops loving you and wanting to draw you deeper into the light of his grace.

I also hope and pray that our many resources can help you make that happen. Our various Advent and Christmas Retreat Guides are still all available for free, in all their formats (video, audio, PDF), for use online or for downloading. And the final volume in my little series of seasonal meditations, Winter Meditations, is ready to help you unplug from the hustle and bustle and plug into the message of this cold but eloquent season of the year.

Even if you don’t use any of our resources, please do make an effort to carve out some time to spend alone with God as Christmas approaches, as hard as it may be. In the end, your friendship with Christ is what gives meaning and sense to everything else.  And now is a privileged time to revitalize it.

If you have been and are using our resources, and you haven’t yet contributed to our Advent Appeal, please considering making a generous donation to help us continue our efforts at evangelizing the Digital Continent. If you have read this far, you are certainly someone who knows what that continent looks like, and how important it is to make the Gospel resound there.

A sincere thank you to all of our Digital Missionaries who have already contributed to our Advent Appeal. You will not lose your reward!

All of our digital pilgrims and missionaries can keep counting on my prayers, every day, as we journey together through the darkness of this fallen world to the everlasting light of eternal life.

Peace in Him,
Fr John Bartunek, LC, SThD
contact@rcspirituality.org

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