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The Aroma of Hope: Weekly Message for 12-12-17
Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrims, pax Christi:
Even before I became a Christian, I enjoyed the Advent season. The Christmas spirit of hope-filled anticipation touched everything during those cold, snowy weeks leading up to December 5th. And I think that’s still the case, even in our more and more secularized culture. Many of us keep trying to promote the real “reason for the Season”, but even folks who haven’t met Jesus can smell and savor the aroma of Christian hope around this time of year.
That’s the power of hope. And when our own hope in God’s omnipotence, faithfulness, and providence is strong, we become like the season of Advent. We spread the aroma of encouragement, even joy, in everything that we do and wherever we go.
Here at RCSpirituality.org, we are working hard to keep giving you resources that can nourish your hope. Many of you have already taken up our 22-Day Advent challenge, and I am sure you are already feeling some of its benefits. (There is still time to sign up, even if it won’t be the full 22 days for you.) Many of you have gone back to rewatch some of our Advent and Christmas Retreat Guides (and if you haven’t seen our newest, The Christmas Apostle: An Advent Retreat Guide on St John the Apostle, I highly recommend it). I would encourage you to share some of these resources with folks you know who may be missing out on the special graces God wants to give us during this season.
And today, when we commemorate Our Lady of Guadalupe, named Empress of the Americas, we can renew our hope with special vigor. Back in 1531, Mary appeared to a humble native American in Mexico, St. Juan Diego. She asked him for a favor or two, but she also reassured him amidst the sufferings and uncertainties of his own journey. Her words to him are just as applicable to us, and can give a powerful boost to our hope in the Lord. I leave you with them, assuring you of my prayers for a fruitful and grace-filled Advent and Christmas:
…Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that frightens you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing: do not let it disturb you. Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you…
God bless you and keep you!
Fr John Bartunek, LC