Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Advent 2013: First Sunday Of Advent

Advent Wreath with one candle lit to show that it is the first Sunday/week of Advent
Yes this post is late as the First Sunday of Advent was actually about 2 weeks ago. Apologies for the lateness but I haven't posted for a while.

So, today marks the start of Advent. Many people see Advent just as the 'run up' to Christmas, but we (the church) know that Advent is a season itself. A season of joyful anticipation for the birth of Christ Jesus Our Lord.

For many people today the only things associated with Advent are Advent Calendars and preparing for Christmas (physically not spiritually). Why? Is it because people don't understand Advent? Or is it because they don't want to? In my opinion, and you are all entitled to your own, it is the latter. People today don't want to have anything religious about Advent. In my opinion Advent Calendars were the worst things ever invented! I mean how can you prepare yourself (spiritually) for the birth of Christ Jesus Our Lord when all that is on your mind is what shape the next chocolate is going to be in your Advent Calendar?

The Advent Wreath. Three candles are purple, symbolizing penance, preparation, and sacrifice; the pink candle symbolizes the same but highlights the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, when we rejoice because our preparation is now half-way finished. 

So, what is the meaning behind the First Sunday of Advent? Advent is divided into two parts.  The first part begins on the First Sunday and ends on December 16th, and the second part begins on December 17th and ends on December 24th.  This division is important for understanding the significance of Advent preparations. Some of the scriptural readings from the Sundays of Advent, as well as the two Advent prefaces, will serve as guides to prepare us for the coming of our Lord-past, present, and future.  The preface is the prayer said or sung by the priest at Mass immediately before the congregation responds with the "Holy, Holy, Holy."  During Advent, we will primarily hear two prefaces, one for each of the two parts of the liturgical season. 

For the first part of Advent, the emphasis is on the Second Coming of the Lord.  The first Advent preface, used during the first part of Advent, recalls our Lord's first coming at His birth over two millennia ago, but more heavily stresses His Second Coming.  We are told that the Son of God humbled Himself to come among us as a man(Advent Preface I).  But as quickly as we remember the Christ who has already come, this first preface points to the Christ who will come again.  For, we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in His glory (Advent Preface I).  By recalling the first coming of Christ, the coming that we will joyfully celebrate at Christmas, we gain confidence that Christ has not abandoned us but will come again.


The readings for this First Sunday of Advent show us the way to recognize Him who continuously comes.  The Gospel of the First Sunday implores us:  Stay awake!  For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.  For at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come (Mt 24:42, 44). 


So, during Advent let us ask God to help us prepare ourselves spiritually for the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I'm Back!

Good evening everyone! I'm back!

As you will all know I haven't posted in a while, I am very sorry for this but I have been very busy and my memory is terrible (not very good at 16!).

Anyway, I am back now and promise to post more often.

A lot has happened since I last posted. First and foremost, Habemus Papam! we have a new Pope (who's not so new any more)! Pope Francis (for those who don't already know, although I'm sure you all do!). I will be posting a lot on our new Pope as I, like many others I suspect, absolutely love him! I think he is exactly what the church needs to lead us in the right direction.

Also since my last post we have been through the season of Easter and Ordinary Time and now find ourselves in Advent, and only a week away from Christmas and the birth of our Lord! But I will do some seperate posts on these two topics (Advent & Christmas) later.

So, for now, I'm sorry for not posting for a while and I promise to post more often from now on (if I remember to!).

P.S. please continue to pray for me as I discern my vocation to the Priesthood.

Thanks,
Brad

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Lent: A time of Sacrifice, Discipline, Reflection & Prayer





A great video here about Lent
Worth a watch!

Cardinals summoned to Rome in preparation for Conclave









With Benedict XVI having entered into his life of prayer and meditation as “Roman pontiff emeritus”, the Holy See moved into conclave mode yesterday when the dean of the college of cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, summoned the cardinals to Rome.


The cardinals will meet in the Vatican’s Synod Hall at 9.30am on Monday for the first of their “general congregations”. These meetings represent a “state of the union” moment for the Catholic Church at which the cardinals will establish the date of the conclave to elect a successor to Benedict and also discuss issues and challenges faced by the church.
At a briefing yesterday, however, Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi warned against expecting any immediate announcement of the date, saying the decision will almost certainly come later in the week.
If the cardinals opt to anticipate the conclave, the most likely starting dates are March 10th or 11th.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Resigns

I haven't written for a while now, so this story is sort of old news as I am writing it. But oh well it's important news, so it doesn't hurt to hear it twice.

Yesterday (28th February) at 7pm English time or 8pm Rome time, Pope Benedict XVI officially resigned. His last words to the faithful crowds were simply "Thank You and Good Night". Simple words from a man that will now live, as he himself said, "I am no longer the pope but I am still in the church. I'm just a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his pilgrimage on this earth,". Wise words from a wise man. 

Pope Benedict XVI will now be the Pope Emeritus. He will be entitled to be called 'His Holiness' still but all the other 'gifts' that come with the papacy will no longer be his.

This may well be the last we here of Pope Benedict XVI.

May God Bless him in his future and may he live happily for the rest of his days.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Catholics need help experiencing 'Interactive Prayer'

Lets Pray is one of many interactive prayer services




A brilliant article by CNS about reacing out to the youth of the church (like me). The Article Read:




The church must offer people -- especially the young -- a spirituality that responds to their computer-driven desire for interactive experiences, said an influential Jesuit magazine.

The Italian magazine, La Civilta Cattolica, said the church does not have to invent a new spirituality for a new generation. It just has to recognize that because of intensive computer and social network use people have changed, so the church must change the way it offers its spiritual treasures.

The key, the magazine said, is to help people take the step from superficial interaction -- "surfing the net" and clicking on link after link -- to contemplation.

First, people must recognize the need "to safeguard spaces that allow interiorization to develop." That means a bit of silence and being out of arm's reach of the computer or smartphone, the magazine said.

But the church also must offer Catholics ideas of what to do with that quiet time, and the magazine started with something its Jesuit staff knows something about: the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits whose feast is July 31.

The exercises, it said, offer a systematic formula for helping someone take the already-interactive experience of reading to a new level.

For example, its suggestion for contemplating the birth of Jesus begins by asking the reader to "see with the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, considering the length and breadth of it, whether it is a flat road or goes through valleys or over hills; and similarly to look at the place of the Nativity, to see how big or small it is, how low or high, and what is in it."

The reader is asked to look around the cave or grotto and see who is there and then to imagine himself or herself in the scene as well, watching, listening and helping, if possible.

In the exercises, the magazine said, the person praying imagines being in the biblical scene, shares the emotions of those present and tries to relive the mystery, "interacting with the personalities and the environment."

Through the use of prayerful imagination, the Bible becomes a "virtual reality" for the reader, it said. How deep the experience is depends on "the intensity of the relationships and interactions that are created during the contemplation."

The church needs to help people "learn to live their spirituality interacting and immersing themselves in the word of God," the magazine said.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

'Jesus' is not a word!



According to a game on Facebook called 'Words With Friends' (which is basically scrabble): 'Jesus is not a valid word'!

At first I thought maybe it's because it's a name like Sue or Jeff or Paul or something. But then...I used the word 'Sue' and 'Paul' and, although they too are names, they were accepted!

It is an absolute outrage!

Pope: Vocations are born from openness to the love of God


Our great leader (Pope Benedict XVI) has done it again. Very wise words (as always). He has released his papal message for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In his message he wrote:
"Love of God nurtures love of neighbor, especially in people with vocations to the priesthood or religious life. The profound truth of our existence is thus contained in this surprising mystery: Every creature, and in particular every human person, is the fruit of God's thought and an act of his love, a love that is boundless, faithful and everlasting, It is in this soil of self-offering and openness to the love of God, and as the fruit of that love, that all vocations are born and grow. By drawing from this wellspring through prayer, constant recourse to God's word and to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, it becomes possible to live a life of love for our neighbors, in whom we come to perceive the face of Christ the Lord."
Read the full message for yourself at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/vocations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20111018_xlix-vocations_en.html

Time to admit it: The Catholic Church has always been right on Contraception



Protest Pope Condom
I was delighted to read an article on bussinessinsider.com that was about how the Catholic Church has always been right about contraception. The article was produced by someone who isn't a Catholic, infact he isn't even religius at all! Yet here he is saying the Catholic Church has been right all along, which is, lets face it, a very rare thing in todays society. Anyway Here is some of the article:
"The Catholic Church is the world's biggest and oldest organization. It has buried all of the greatest empires known to man, from the Romans to the Soviets. It has establishments literally all over the world, touching every area of human endeavor. It's given us some of the world's greatest thinkers, from Saint Augustine on down to René Girard. When it does things, it usually has a good reason. Everyone has a right to disagree, but it's not that they're a bunch of crazy old white dudes who are stuck in the Middle Ages."
He Goes on to say:
"So, what's going on?
The Church teaches that love, marriage, sex, and procreation are all things that belong together. That's it. But it's pretty important. And though the Church has been teaching this for 2,000 years, it's probably never been as salient as today.
Today's injunctions against birth control were re-affirmed in a 1968 document by Pope Paul VI called Humanae Vitae. He warned of four results if the widespread use of contraceptives was accepted:
  1. General lowering of moral standards
  2. A rise in infidelity, and illegitimacy
  3. The reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men.
  4. Government coercion in reproductive matters.
Does that sound familiar?
Because it sure sounds like what's been happening for the past 40 years."

 A very rare and great statement from a non-religious person. Praise the Lord for this man.


Read the full article for yourself at: http://www.businessinsider.com/time-to-admit-it-the-church-has-always-been-right-on-birth-control-2012-2