What do I need to do to prepare for confession? This helpful infographic lists five things that help to make for a good, that is spiritually beneficial confession.
The Saint of the Day presents a daily calendar of Saints remembered by the Church and featured in the Vatican calendar. The pages feature the stories of the great witnesses of Christian life through the centuries, lighting our way on our journey of faith.
There is such a contrast to the first reading and the gospel. Ahaz seems to be taking the high road by not wanting to tempt God, but he is not. He does not want a sign from God, because he wants to do something different. Mary does not seek a sign from God, but when God asks, she says yes. Ahaz does not cultivate a relationship with God. Mary orders her entire life around her faith in God. Do you want a sign from God, or not?
Advent is about seeking. Do we want to find God, to get a sign, or do we wish to turn away from God? Do we use the guise of faith, of goodness, to turn away from God? Is your heart open to God? Are you ready to hear God’s voice? Will you do what God wants? Make this a holy Advent. Say yes to God.
There have been a few times where I have encountered people I believe are really holy. It is as if I encounter Jesus himself. There is a calm and a peace about these people. There is a wonderful sense of purpose and direction. And I think it is for this reason we encounter the Blessed Mother twice during Advent in special celebrations. During this hectic and chaotic time that is December, we need a calm example of holiness. And Mary gives that to us.
And this celebration of Mary, under the title of Guadalupe, reminds us that Mary is not concerned only with powerful people, or rich people, or bishops and popes, but Mary is also concerned with each one of us. And Mary has one purpose in reaching out to each of us. She leads us to her son, Jesus. Every time. Every day. So on this day, open your heart to the prayers of Mary, so that you may become closer to Jesus.
Reading the signs of the times is not just about looking at what is all around us on the outside. It is also about paying careful attention to the presence of God on the inside of our lives. In a world with so many distractions, it can become so easy to become lethargic about the presence of God. In a world with so many challenges, we need to be attentive and awake. We need to be ready to see the presence of God within.
What have you done to help be awake spiritually? In what ways have you looked inside yourself to see the presence of God? How do you make yourself available to see and learn from God? As we review our past year, and as we stand on the cusp of a new year, ask God to make you more and more aware of his love for you.
The DePorres Pages features short prayers from the tradition of Saint Dominic in this new series known as The Dominican Moment. These are short pieces for meditation and prayer. They are either quotes from Dominican saints, (Saint Dominic actually wrote little), or by those inspired by him. At the end of each clip, there are reflection questions to pray about and reflect on during the day.
Today Saint Catherine of Siena discusses the relationship between body and soul.
Do you witness to sanctity? Do you show forth holiness in your life? The bishop that ordained me said this: “Don’t wait until you die to be a saint. That’s too late. Become a saint now.” Are you a saint? On the seal of the high school where I teach is the Latin phrase, “signum fidei.” It means sign of faith. It suggests that in all things we are to see ourselves as signs of faith.
How do we do this? We are a sign of faith when we are generous, faithful, prayerful and kind. We are a sign of faith when Jesus becomes the center of our lives. Each time we see another human being as the image of God, we are a sign of faith. So do not wait to become a saint. Do so now.
The first reading today compares two men. The power of one of the men led to sin and death. The power of the other man led to salvation. How is it possible that two men could impact us so differently? Simple. The one powerful action by the fully human and fully divine man was enough to save. It overcame the detriment of the sinful action. We can be saved.
This happens when we open our hearts to the gift from the man of life. When we trust in Jesus, we open our souls to the forgiveness and mercy which saves. We are able to receive the grace of God. We become more and more alive because of Jesus. So, you can trust in the actions of the one man of sin, or place your lives into the divine and human person of Jesus.
I am one of those who was a little sceptical of the sanctity of Saint Padre Pio. There seemed to be a lot of questions for me, and for the Church, around the authenticity of his holiness. But what could not be denied was the way in which Padre Pio led people to God. And is not that the definition of a saint? One who is so holy the witness of life leads people to God?
Today’s gospel is a familiar one. We have likely heard it many times. And we may even have tried to find ways to prove to ourselves that the soil of our soul is the one that produces 100-fold. But is it true? Do not I have to consider my scepticism as a potential way in which the seed, the Word of God, misses my heart?
Jesus tells his followers to pray always. Just how is this done? In the midst of our responsibilities, how can we follow this command? The Church, thankfully, through the saints, and through her liturgies, provides the solution. There is the prayer known as the “Liturgy of the Hours”, with prayers designed to occur at various moments of the day. There are websites like the bishops’ website that provide the daily readings.
And then there is the little effort to see that all we do can be seen as a way of praying and sanctifying the day. Loving actions parents make for the children is a type of sanctification. Making a meal, working at a job, and other aspects of our daily endeavors can be seen as ways to sanctifying our day. Hopefully, though, it is by taking a little time in silent prayer that we find the presence of God in our lives.