Between 1564 and 1567
Oil on canvas
The Lourve, Paris, France
Preparing for the Mass December 21, 2014
The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on December 8. The first 24 days of December fall during the liturgical season known as Advent and are represented by the liturgical color purple. The remaining days of December mark the beginning of the Christmas season. The liturgical color changes to white or gold — a symbol of joy, purity and innocence.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sunday Bible Reflections from Scott Hahn and the liturgy can be found here and a children's liturgy can be found .here
Fourth Sunday in Advent, Year B—December 21, 2014
On this last Sunday in Advent, an angel startles a young woman in Nazareth. What was old, and what was new in his message to her?
Gospel (Read Lk 1:26-38)
How many times have we heard this Scripture read? If it is very familiar to us, we should make the effort to hear it now with fresh ears. Perhaps we can do that by trying to imagine what it was like for Mary to have this conversation with Gabriel as it happened in history.
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Luke 1: 26–38
On the carefully programmed Advent journey to Christmas, the Fourth Sunday belongs to Mary. This is so because Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus, necessarily involves the motherhood of Mary. However, the story of that birth is reserved for Midnight Mass, while today’s gospel tells us how Mary prepared for that wonderful event by accepting the message of an angel, which meant allowing God to determine how she could be a mother and remain a virgin....more
Fourth Sunday of Advent: The Everlasting Desire
As the whole world prepares to celebrate Christmas, making believe that the Christmas Season has started (It hasn’t yet, you know), I want to pause with you to consider the real need, the real desire we all have in our lives. This need, this deep desire is the need for the presence of God.
The need for God’s presence in my life, and in all our lives becomes quite obvious when we consider the power of sin within us and among us. There are times when, as St. Paul says in the Letter to the Romans, the forces of darkness appear to domineer us. “Who can save us from these, who can save us from ourselves?” St. Paul asks. Then he answers, “The grace, presence and life of Jesus Christ alone can save us.” His very name, Jesus, means, God saves us. He saves us from our sins. He saves us from ourselves.
Prepare Well for Christ
Advice for family preparation for Christmas
Christmas marks God entering time in a new, distinct way — in a way that fulfills all of his promises to his people to be with them and to save them. He chose to come through a family, and he invites all people to be a part of that family. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman … so that we might receive adoption” (Galatians 4:4).
Year after year, Christmas offers families a season to renew the sense of wonder at the way God entered time. How will families allow him to enter their Christmastime this year? Catholic families should use the season to regroup, renew and revitalize their faith.
Run, Don’t Walk, to the Nearing Jesus!
The Lord’s coming is near. And though we have all been well taught that the word “Advent” means “coming,” there is the danger that we think we are only passively waiting for him to come. It is not just that the Lord is coming to us, but that we are also journeying to Him. In fact, as the Advent prayers in the Roman Missal instruct, we ought to run, not walk, and hasten to greet Him as He draws near.
Persevering Through Suffering This Advent
A while ago, I asked a woman what I could pray about for her, and her response was pretty memorable. She asked me to pray for her to suffer with Christ — to suffer well, and that her suffering may be used to bring her loved ones closer to Him.
I didn’t know that she was suffering, but if I did, I would have probably thought to pray for her — that she might be relieved of that suffering and that her burdens would become lighter.
And yet, instead of asking for relief, she asked for the graces to suffer well — so that she may be united with Christ on the Cross, and so her loved ones would, too, be drawn closer to Him.
The War on Christmas is over. Jesus won.
Kirk Cameron can breathe easy: the War on Christmas is over. Jesus won.
That's the implication of a new Pew Research Center survey that finds nearly three-quarters of Americans -- 73 percent -- believe that Jesus was literally born to a virgin. This is especially surprising when you consider that only one third of Americans say that the Bible is the word of God and should be understood literally.
Waiting in Joyful Hope
Advent is a tricky little season. On the one hand it’s a kind of “little Lent” inviting Christians to enter into the hush and mystery of God – God! – becoming a tiny baby boy, laid in a manger where animals eat and birthed in conditions no first-world woman would consider laboring in.
On the other hand, it’s the last 4 weeks before Christmas, the end of the calendar year, and jam-packed with more parties, social obligations, and family traditions than the previous eleven months combined.
Confessions of a Publicly Grumpy Mom
Milk and toothpaste. That’s all that was left on my shopping list as I maneuvered myself, two shopping carts (one of the race car variety) and my five youngest sons toward the back of our local supermarket. The oldest boy was big enough to push a cart, only occasionally racing down an aisle or bumping into the back of my ankles. Thus far I had managed to avoid the restroom rodeo: that business of holding open the men’s room door and shouting into the abyss of strange men and hand dryer noises to get my boys to come out while keeping my aspiring-shopping-cart-diver three year old from jumping head first toward the tile floor.
How much of Mass can I miss? You know, and it still counts?
Second only to questions on annulments, the above question—How much of Mass can I miss and it still counts for my obligation?— is probably the single the most common canonical question lay people ask.
Confession! What a Relief!
My bride and I just went to Confession, and once again I pitied the poor priest who had to hear my lawyer’s confession! I have never been to Confession without feeling a great sense of relief.
Here is the formula that I have followed for Confessions since childhood:
Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been ____________ since my last Confession and these are my sins.
I then recite my sins. I follow the rule of three B’s in Confession:
Getting Ready for Judgment
December is the month of Advent and Advent is about not just the First Advent at Christmas but the Second Advent on the Last Day. Accordingly, it confronts us with the reality of Judgment.
Lots of folks wonder how to get ready for the Last Judgment. Everything in your life and mine, as well as in all the rest of the Universe, is moving inexorably toward That Day. Yet when we look at the saints, we find some remarkably unconventional advice. St. Therese of Lisieux, for instance, when asked what she would do if you knew the world was about to end, said, “I would have confidence.”