Today we will reflect on an excerpt from a sermon offered by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The excerpt, known as “The Three Comings of the Lord” and taken from a series of homilies authored by St. Bernard concerning Advent and Christmas, is offered as the Second Reading on Wednesday during the first week of Advent in the Office of Readings. In his sermon, St. Bernard begins by identifying three “comings” of the Lord.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the most important solemnities about our Blessed Mother. Pope Pius IX declared in 1854 that Our Blessed Mother, through a special grace, was preserved free from original sin right from the moment she was conceived in her mother, Anna’s, womb. It is part of the reason when the angel Gabriel came to tell her that God had chosen her as the mother of Jesus, the angel called her “full of grace.” She did not have a quarter of the grace, or have half of the grace, but she was full of grace!
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In the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis, we hear about the creation of the world and all things in it. The story of creation is not a documentary that yields accurate historical or scientific data. It is a spiritual lesson in story form telling us as much about God as it does about creation. Please note that there are two stories of creation.
I recently asked one of my younger grandsons what he found interesting about school this year. He replied with a detailed description of an item on the lunch menu. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I expected him to respond with something about classes, friends, homework, or similar. I wasn’t ready for a food response, totally unexpected. In retrospect, it made great sense. Eating is a bright spot in our day.
Recently, the Holy Cross Family Ministries team in Easton had a beautiful day of retreat with Fr. Bill Dorwart, C.S.C. It was a precious opportunity for us to pause, reflect on our journey, and find nourishment to move forward. As Kierkegaard wisely said, "Life must be lived forward and understood backward." Today, as we come together to celebrate the Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, we are reminded of the profound connection between living our faith and our actions, our prayers, and our commitment to embodying the Gospel in every aspect of our lives.
Every culture seems to have manifested its own celebration of Saint Nicholas’ popular feast day on December 6th. From presents to persecution for sins, the evolution of the feast has changed from a day of homage paid a holy man to a secular rabbit hole of pagan and mythical traditions.