I am slowly starting to incorporate the liturgical calendar into our lives. My husband and I did not grow up that way, so we are learning as we go. Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since I work in pro-life ministry and help women in crisis pregnancy, she is very dear to me as the Patroness of the Unborn, and the Americas.
Today I am linked up over at CatholicMom.com’s Small Success Thursday. Think about a few of your small successes for this week and share them with us.
I am having one of those days in Motherhood and as a Christian when “I do the very thing I hate” to quote Saint Paul. I have allowed little things and my own failures drag me down. That is what the Devil wants. He would rather I wallow in self-pity rather than ask The Lord for the strength to keep moving forward.
Today I am linked up with the CatholicMom.com Advent Wreath Link-Up. If you have a camera and a blog be sure to share your wreath with us.
Our Advent Wreath is our first as a family. My husband and I have been married for 3.5 years. We bought a simple gold ringed wreath at our parish bookstore. I then went to the Dollar Tree and purchased fake pine garland and some simple white poinsettia flowers that have a hint of glitter. We have four purple candles this year because last year’s candles melted in the attic. Walmart only had purple and no pink. The white flowers symbolizes that Christmas is soon to come. Although we wait in the violet of Advent, soon we will give way to liturgical white to celebrate The Nativity of Our Lord.
Advent is a season that teaches me a lot. I struggle, like many people, with wanting instant gratification. Advent teaches us to wait, it teaches us patience. Instead of rushing headlong into Christmas, we are told to become quiet, reflective, repentant, and expectant. The Savior of the World is coming to us at Christmas, and he will come again. It is not a day we check off of a list after hours of shopping. Instead, it is the day God came to rescue us. It is when the fullness of salvation story became clear. It is also a season that lasts beyond December 25th. We live the Incarnation each and every single day as followers of Christ.
May Our Lord bless you in the quiet of the Advent season and prepare your heart to receive Him at Christmas.
Last night I went to the Saturday Vigil Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent. A part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist really struck me. I actually misheard our priest who has a Nigerian accent and that mishearing really hit me. During the anaphora, or Eucharistic Prayer, there is a portion in the preface that says, “For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh…” I actually heard it as “he assumed the loneliness of human flesh”. This mistake got me thinking.
All human beings experience loneliness. It can be loneliness because we are physically alone and have no one to turn to, it can be psychological because of mental illness or other struggles, or it can be a sense of abandonment during a difficult time. This abandonment creates a loneliness and a feeling of isolation from God. So I heard the priest wrong, but perhaps I didn’t. Perhaps I needed to think about the Incarnation in a new way.
Christ came and assumed our weak, human form, including our loneliness. He was completely alone and uttered his abandonment from the Cross. While he was God, he also felt our desolation. He knows what it is to be alone, and perhaps in my own struggles, I have forgotten that Christ truly understands my sufferings.
This is a difficult time of year for a lot of people. I think that we forget that fact in the busyness of the season. Many people struggle with depression, myself included, or are lonely this time of year, many are mourning the loss of loved ones. It is the darkest part of the year. It reminds us that we are truly alone in the final analysis. We have to make the final journey alone. Christ, while He was God, went to the Cross alone to show us the way.
It is important that we reach out to our brothers and sisters this time of year and all year long. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta warned us that there is a great loneliness and feeling of being unloved in the West. We must encourage and lift up those around us who struggle and who are alone. We are the Mystical Body of Christ, we are a community, we are an organism. When one part suffers the whole body suffers.
Do you pray for the lonely, depressed, mourning,, or struggling? Do you reach out to the people in your community who are mentally ill? Do you suffer from depression yourself? Consider Christ on the Cross. He knows your loneliness and pain. Meditate on how Christ took on our lowliness, but he too understands our loneliness.
There is something of this loneliness as we wait for Our Lord to come both at Christmas and in the Second Coming. We long for Him. ‘Our souls pine for him like a deer longs for streams of water’, to paraphrase the Psalmist. Advent reminds us that we are not home. We are not reunited with the one who created us. We must always keep in mind that we wait in “joyful hope” even in our struggles. So as we wait for brighter days and lighter burdens, remember that all things pass away, and Our Lord has come to save us. I pray Our Lord blesses you during this Advent season. St. Dymphna, pray for us.
I am going to open up this can of worms for the second year in a row. I am having an honest struggle with Santa Claus. I was raised with my parents doing Santa Claus. I can remember thinking that I heard sleigh bells when I was five years old, waiting in anticipation for Christmas morning. My parents did a great job of making Christmas a special time. That is why I am shocked that I am struggling with the decision to do Santa Claus or not. The Easter Bunny is already a big no for my husband and me.
Today is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas. Happy Feast Day! We celebrate this feast in our family. My husband and I decided to incorporate his childhood tradition of stockings on December 6th to our own family traditions. We did stockings on Christmas morning in my family.