Dear friends in Christ,
As we enter upon the second week of Advent, together we are drawing closer to Bethlehem. Yet, we are still upon the rough road that the Holy Family traveled. It takes courage and humility to keep up. It is important that we all realize that these events, while recorded in human history, are living, present moments for those who believe, those who seek only the Will of Almighty God, and those whose faith leads them to recognize the Infant Jesus, the Savior of the World.
The journey has become more difficult. Now that we are upon the road, we must recognize that the very meaning and nature of Christmas is about being an heir of the Kingdom of God through the Redemptive Suffering of Our Savior if we cooperate with His graces. Also, we must recognize that Christmas affirms the very Sanctity of Life. It is significant that during Advent we have two solemn holy days: The Immaculate Conception on December 8, and Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. Both are portals to the reason for Christmas. Both point to our Blessed Mother as the ultimate role model and Co-Redemptrix for all who profess to follow Christ.
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego as the Virgin Mother of God, for in the on-going miracle of the miraculous image of Our Lady upon the cloak or tilma of Juan Diego, it is very clear that she is pregnant with the Divine Child, the Only-Begotten Son of God. We need to recognize that today, just as in the 16th century when she appeared to Juan Diego, we are faced with the slaughter of the innocents. Our Lady's appearance at Guadalupe changed the culture of the time…it led to the end of the slaughter of innocents to satiate the pagan gods of the Aztec nation.
I don't need to tell you the culture of our time is far worse than in 1531 and growing more perverse and wicked by the day. We have lost the innocence we had during our youth and it is time we search for those child-like qualities or else. Those who ask 'Are we more pagan today than the natives of Juan Diego's time?' the answer is undeniably: Yes! Many of his countrymen did not know better. We do. When we remain silent about the holocaust of the womb it is akin to holding that dagger on the altar of human sacrifice. Are we upholding the Sanctity of Life that alone comes from and belongs to God when we divest ourselves of the Church's teaching on life, artificial contraception and abortion by compromising? A small remnant of the faithful are upholding the Sanctity of Life, but are met with resistance not only by the secular world, but even some within the Church, and yet, they are not the Church for the conciliar church no longer has any resemblance to the true Catholic Faith. Think how many children are being deprived of life, or their innocence and free will to choose Heaven. Think of those who have lost their innocence and have no desire to rekindle it.
There is no doubt from statistics and attitude that we are far more pagan today than the Aztecs or, for that matter, any other civilization including the time of Sodom and Gomorrah and the time of Noah This time we now live - nearly 2000 years since the birth of Our Savior - is also in concert with the meaning of Advent in so far as the four weeks of preparation symbolize the 4000 years from Adam and Eve to Christ. At the halfway point (2000 years) before Christ God sent a great flood over the entire earth and only Noah and his family were preserved. Because of that increment in time, we should be aware that every 2000 years God replenishes the earth through a recleansing of His choosing. We're living on borrowed time and each day we can see visual evidence that all is climaxing toward that very crescendo of cacophony: The war in Iraq, rumblings of World War III, nuclear threats by very unstable men, the changing climates, innumerable catastrophes that secular wags label "biblical proportions" and that is just the physical evidence. Look within and souls are blackened, void. Virtue has taken a holiday. So many no longer care, so many are going their merry way, oblivious to our Lord's words in Saint Matthew 24: 36-39. While I can in no way even venture to offer when Almighty God will recleanse the earth, I can tell you the way we, as a civilization, have rejected God, blares loud and clear that His justice is overdue...long overdue.
Through faith, I firmly believe much has been mitigated to this point thanks to the prayers of the few faithful souls who, like Abraham, have begged God to withhold His hand. Many times Our Lady conveys to the interior of our hearts and through her words at Quito, Rue du Bac, La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima how she pleads with the Father to withhold from meting out His Due Justice. Like a loving, sympathetic mother, Mary knows the chalice is overflowing with the blood of the innocents through the culture of embracing sin and yet, as the merciful mother she is, she still hopes and prays that more of her children will return to her divine Son through a conversion of heart and to the true Faith before the inevitable occurs as God has promised it would.
That is why Advent is a time to take to heart that the right to choose, as pro-choice people tout, finds its ultimate answer in the "fiat" of the Blessed Mother. Remember that she had a free will. She did not have Original Sin, yet she lived in a sin-filled world, whereas Eve did not. Eve chose to sin, Mary chose obedience to the very heart of God. Her "fiat" sang to the glory of Life, which is God, from all eternity, and we are to do no less. This should be our focus as we follow in the footsteps of the Holy Family towards Bethlehem, where Life Itself took human form to lift humanity to the Divine if man, in his free will, chose to follow.
The reality of the journey to Bethlehem and the Birth of the Christ child are present for us and that is a present from God that we must in turn give to Him. Christ gives Himself not only at Christmas, but in each Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when the bread and wine are confected into His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity and only possible in the true Latin Mass. We relive both Bethlehem and Calvary, and we walk with Mary in this journey just as she walked with Him and was in concert with the will of her divine Son. Christmas is not a distant event that we look back upon fondly, as we would when reminiscing about the past. Despite the fact that modernists and immoralists are today endeavoring to erase any vestige of our Lord as the Son of God and any identification of Him as the Second Person of the Trinity by bending over backwards to be tolerant of man and man's blatant disobedience to God through sin, we can never lose the reason for the season. It is for Christ and Christ alone. It is an insult to recognize Kwanzaa or Hannukah, or whatever the Muslims, Hindus and other lost brethren celebrate, instead of the the true focus of the "why" of Christmas. That is lost on the great majority today. It is even lost on those who have spent millions to produce a very non-Catholic film The Nativity Story. From all I have heard, it is definitely anti-Catholic in its portrayal and I would strongly recommend saving your money and taking up the Rosary instead.
The holy Rosary is our conduit to Heaven in pleading for God to repeat the miracle He wrought 475 years ago. If He could send His Own Mother in 1531 to effect the conversion of nine million souls in the Americas to replace the nine milion in Europe who had apostacized, surely He can do it again somehow, someway in waking the vast majority of conciliar "Catholics" to the reality that they're going down the wrong path. The sad fact is so many don't realize they've apostasized because they've been purposely taught to forget the tenets of the true Faith in favor of dialogue and compromising for the buzz words of "human dignity" and "human respect." I don't know about you, but I've had it with all the sleazy-speak of the conciliarist leaders who continue to mislead souls. They are truly wolves in sheep's clothing from the top on down. They represent the Herods and Sanhedrin, the people the sheep, and the few shepherds who tended their flocks on the hill near the stable are the remnant of good bishops - the traditional bishops who refuse to compromise, refuse to surrender to political correctness, which is the veneer of the world, the flesh and the devil.
Just as it was bitterly cold that night our dear Lord was born, so also for traditional Catholic clergy it is just as frigid for they are frozen out, treated as lepers by the hypocrites who prance about just as Christ described in chapter 23 of St. Matthew. And yet, just as a child changed the course of history forever, just as Blessed Mary appeared to a child-like peasant on Tepeyac, just as she chose children to spread her messages at Lourdes and Fatima, we must seek to be child-like in our Faith. We must take our Lord's words seriously in St. Mark 10: 15 and St. Luke 18: 17, "Amen, I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it."
Christmas is for children. Let us recall how energized and excited we were in our earlier Christmases; not for Santa Claus, but for the reason why it is called Christmas. Christ's Mass when the church was packed and after Holy Mass we couldn't wait to go up to the manger to the side of the altar by the Communion rail to pay our respects to the Baby Jesus and to thank Mary for saying 'yes' to God. Let's all seek to recreate that child-like fervor.
How do we do that you ask? By being good little children and studying our Faith and by showing our good intentions to God by praying morning, noon and night, and remaining in the state of Sanctifying Grace. If you do that, you're guaranteed to get good grades with God.
And so this Christmas, let us remember those reasons for the season. Unfortunately, many forget, blinded by the glitz and greed. Do we have our feet planted firmly on solid ground? Or are we slip-sliding all over? Are we following in the path of the Holy Family, or have we rushed ahead, trying to get all the Christmas preparations done in a timely manner, so we can admire the beauty of the decorations we are prompted by society to put up. Are we too eager to wrap our presents and place them under the Christmas tree, so that the children are filled with anticipation of what we might have bought for them? Are we depending on the admiration of only outward signs of Christmas, leaving our souls out in the cold, in the dark?
We must not leave our souls out of this season of preparation and anticipation. It is precisely in anticipation that we are preparing for Christmas on the supernatural plane, in the mystical realm. It is all too easy to find ourselves so preoccupied with shopping and planning, that we rush past the spiritual meaning of Advent, and thus leave our souls in the darkness of secular things devoid of Christ.
It would be better to have nothing of the glitter and glamour of the holiday decorations, so that our souls may be filled with the Life and Light of the World. I am not saying that we should have no outward decorations, no gifts wrapped and placed under the tree. What holy Mother Church wants us all to understand is that the best gift we can prepare in this time of Advent is that of ourselves…our entire being; our hearts, our minds, our memories, our past, our present, and our hopes and petitions to Our Lord. That is our present to God. Only after we have begun on the spiritual road will we recognize the Holy Family, and with joy follow them as they draw closer to Bethlehem. If we do this, then we are on the right path, and the outward secular things we do for Christmas will take on a new meaning, one filled with grace. The more we practice our Faith, the less appealing will those secular things seem. That in itself will be an unexpected present you'll be delighted in having. Try it, you'll love shedding the shackles of the pressures the season has brought on by those who have lost sight of our Savior.
Advent is about obtaining actual and sanctifying grace, as Our Lord's gift to us. But to have these graces, I again remind you that we must first make a gift of ourselves to Him. This, my dear brothers and sisters, is not only essential, it is everything! Giving ourselves to Him is the very heart of our earthly pilgrimage. Nothing else matters, until we have given ourselves to Him Alone. In this giving, my dear brothers and sisters, we are walking the road to sanctity. We are well on our way to becoming saints, which is the very thing which God desires for each one of us.
We walk this road to sanctity, and make progress on the road, only by the measure in which we give ourselves totally to Him. We do this through prayer, through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, through the Sacrament of Penance frequently, and the reception of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament at Holy Communion when we are in the state of grace and have fasted accordingly from food or drink.
Ah, the state of grace! This is a very real thing. To the measure of our own selflessness, we must, in this second week of Advent, strive to be detached from all the secular pressures that come with Christmas. We are not being asked to strip ourselves of the Christmas traditions that we have. On the contrary, we are being asked by Our Lord to bless these things, even some of these materialistic things, by being detached from them in a holy manner. Detachment is the watchword for the second week of Advent. We must not hunger after approval from family members, children, etc., who may be clamoring for more and more and more gifts, decorations, etc. We must not let pride get in, saying to ourselves in the secret recesses of our soul, "Look at how many presents I have been able to provide this year. Look at the beautiful gift-wrap, with bows that are expensive." We are not to let pride get in when we decorate our home, then invite guests to enjoy that which we have done, expecting praise, and glorying in that praise. This is not what Our Lord wants. He wants us to do all for Him, with Him, and in Him, and only then does His blessing descend upon our outward preparation for secular things.
For some this will be very difficult, for there are many who have not realized how pride hides in our souls under many forms, under many names, and how often we have justified our pride! It is being poor in spirit that makes us selfless, of recognizing the true meaning of Christmas, and the desire of Our Lord to take up His abode in our souls, in the heart of our soul! Yet, together we must strive to be holy…and to follow the example of the Holy Family who journeyed to Bethlehem, and with them to thank God for the trials, the crosses, and how we handle the pressure that society places upon us to live up to the materialistic preparation for Christmas. God puts no pressure on us. Like a little child, He expects us to obey Him and He will reward us. It's that simple.
In this second week of Advent, we must recognize that the joy has not yet come. We are anticipating this joy; we are working to make ourselves a worthy gift to Our Lord. Our hearts must sing of Him, before we can properly sing Christmas carols. Our soul must be set free to fly to Him, rather than being bogged down by the exhausting preparations our society demands of us. Are we holding our soul prisoner to secular things, or have we understood that only in lifting up our soul, its very heart, will we fly into His embrace, where all that we do in preparation this Advent will be blessed by Him.
This second week of Advent let us strive together to set our souls free to fly to Him. Let us walk the path to Bethlehem knowing the joy that is ours when we set our souls free, and to allow God to lift us up into His Heart, where the true meaning of Christmas resides forever.
I am praying that I, too, may make worthy preparation for Christmas, and to be detached from all things for His sake. Joseph and Mary had no security in the world. They had Christ, and that was sufficient for them. Is He sufficient for us? Only through worthy preparation will we know where our heart is, for Sacred Scripture tells us that where our heart is, there is our treasure.
Oh, that we set our heart free to be one with Him! That is our prayer, and we are working together this Advent, so we do not feel alone in the struggle between the mystical state of our soul and the worldly state society demands of us.
One prayer at a time, one will of the heart to love Him is the way to journey to Bethlehem as a little child. May we do so in awe, wonder and striving for peace - His peace - not earthly peace for the Joy that awaits is priceless!
May you be imbued with the true Faith and persevere always in the state of Sanctifying Grace,