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Header-Advent Learning to Wait

 

Advent is about waiting.


Who likes to wait? In this fast-paced era that we live, waiting seems like the “ninny” thing to do. Action is the “strong” thing to do. Move, lunge, act, grab, get things done–that’s “push”.

Ok. To wait a little is doable, even commendable; say…five minutes, even ten. But after that, come on! Let’s do something about it!

Of course there is the “lazy” kind of waiting, the waiting of the indolent, the slothful, those for whom any form of action spells suffering beyond endurance.

But that’s not the kind of waiting I’m talking about; not even the former; but the kind that waits with great purpose.

There are times in life, that the quality of the goal requires waiting.  Sometimes, if we reach a precious goal too quickly, we tend to undervalue it.

 

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How many times we see the very young enter marriage without due preparation, only to divorce a couple of years later? Was it the fault of the great Sacrament they entered into? Or the fact they didn’t wait long enough, and didn’t prepare sufficiently for so priceless a gift?

There was the time not so long ago, when credit cards weren’t the norm, when something precious and costly came with a lot of saving and waiting. Once purchased, the acquisition retained such value, that it was passed on as an heirloom, and became a family tradition.

Waiting with purpose is a strong thing to do, a wise thing to do.

While we wait we endure. While we wait we mature. While we wait we tame, and purify the fires of desire, and with clearer minds, adjust our perception and our expectation. If what we wait for is the “real McCoy”, we ultimately come to it with love, augmented by respect. If a“fizz-out”, we say a prayer of thanksgiving that we dodged that path.

It is so with Advent. Advent reminds us of the long historical period of waiting for the promised Messiah, the expected of Nations, the Savior, the Emmanuel, God with us.
Every Jewish child grew up under that great “wait”.

And now that Christ Jesus has come, the Church likes to remind us of that period of waiting for the greatest gift the world has ever and will ever receive, the gift of God walking in the flesh alongside us, and remaining with us in the Eucharist. 

Man prayingIn Advent, the Church invites us to take notice of that long wait for He of whom the Evangelist says:

In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God and the Word was God…all things were made through Him, and without Him was made nothing that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John: 1:1-4.

In Advent, the Church urges us to do two things: one, to take a break from the noise, the ceaseless activity; and two, to fight the indolence that keeps us from entering into ourselves, into that “core” of our spiritual beings where the heart meets God, and with whose help we are able to gage what in life is worth waiting for.

Let us, every Advent, learn to ask Him to teach us to prayerfully wait, to wait with purpose for all the good things His mighty hand has for us in this life and in the next.

 


By M. Taylor

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 18, 2019

Better a few staunch and sincere Catholics, than many compli...

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November 18

 

Better a few staunch and sincere Catholics,
than many compliant with the enemies of the Church
and conformed to the foes of our Faith.

St. Peter Canisius


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

During the French Revolution, the Sisters of the Visitation...

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St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Born on August 29, 1769 in the French city of Grenoble, Rose Philippine was baptized in the Church of St. Louis. She was educated at the Convent of the Visitation of Ste. Marie d'en Haut and, against her father’s wishes, became a novice there when she was eighteen years old. However, the French Revolution caused much disruption for the nuns, and when the Sisters of the Visitation were expelled from their convents, Rose returned home.

She cared for the sick and the poor, helped fugitive priests, visited prisons, and taught children. Some time after the Revolution ended, she unsuccessfully tried to reestablish the Visitation community, and ultimately gave the convent to St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and joined the Order. When the Bishop of New Orleans, William Du Bourg, requested nuns for his thriving diocese in Louisiana, Rose and four other nuns made the trip to America in 1818.

Rose and the nuns were sent to Missouri, pioneers of the New World. There, as well in neighboring states, they established multiple schools, built a convent, an orphanage, a mission school for Indian girls, a boarding academy and a novitiate for her Order. However, the strenuous and difficult regime of work for her apostolate took its toll on her body. She died in St. Charles, Missouri in 1852 after spending more than 30 years as a pioneer in the evangelization of the New World. She was canonized in 1988. Rose was truly devoted to God, and prayed in her every spare moment. Because of this, the Indians began to call her “Quah-kah-ka-num-ad,” or "Woman-Who-Prays-Always."

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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