First of all, our apologies to all for the confusion over the Thanksgiving holiday when our site was down from Wednesday afternoon until late Monday evening. An interminable amount of time for a daily site to be down. We were in the process of upgrading servers and were assured it would only take a day. We had decided the best time would be Wednesday before Thanksgiving since that day most would not be surfing the net in preparation for Thanksgiving. What we didn't realize is that Network Solutions, which governs our URL, jumped the gun and the domino effect took place as they changed the direction of our secondary server without notifying our primary server. We still have www.catholic-internet.org and www.DailyCatholic.net which are basically all pointed to www.DailyCatholic.org. However, with the mixup they changed the www.DailyCatholic.org coordinates, thus disabling the site. We assure all that they can catch up on whatever they missed by going to November issues. We also hope this will answer all the e-mails we received from those who were worried that we had shut down. We don't plan to, and your contributions to our secure encyrpted page will help us prevent further problems by upgrading all equipment to assure it doesn't happen again. Remember, we depend solely - solely on the goodness and charity of our readers to provide you the DAILY CATHOLIC on a daily basis. Not one person affiliated with this publication - from the editor to any contributors - receive a salary of any kind. We all do it as a labor of love in striving to fulfill Our Lord's charge in Mark 16: 15, to "Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature" and the Holy Father's call for evangelization by, to and for the laity.
How many are so sick and tired of politics by now that they're looking forward to Christmas, even the wave of commercials for Christmas seem to be a welcome respite from the neverending flood of political commercials that continue today in the news media with spin that is not about recounting votes, but recasting votes. As we assimilated a few editorials ago, it is a football game in sudden death and George W. Bush has crossed the goal line twice during this overtime. Game over! But Al Gore persists in trying to convince the referee and umpires that those scores shouldn't count and he should be given the ball on the one-yard line, goal to go, and Bush's line be ordered not to try to tackle the ball carrier.
Still in the sports mode, it reminds me of the travesty that happened in the Olympics several decades ago when the US had beaten the Russians. The final buzzer went off, but a mysterious phantom call by a biased ref changed the outcome by allowing Russia extra time on the clock and throwing the ball the length of the court where the Ruskie behemoth not only traveled, but charged into his blockers before throwing up a shot that clanked in. Everyone in America cried "Foul. It's not fair!" That's what many are beginning to finally cry today regarding the circus-like fiasco in Florida? As Gore's attorneys try to pull out every trick in the bag in desperation, the outrage mounts as the polls solidly show the handwriting on the wall for Mr. Gore: Go away! Yet, in his greatly exaggerated mindset, so typical of the entire Clinton-Gore Administration, he refuses to recognize reality. Should we be surprised? Of course not. After all he conducted his entire campaign in that mode, promising everything to everybody in his desperate attempt to wrest the presidency at any price.
Just as lucifer, the fallen angel, refused to go quietly after defiantly stating to God "Non serviam" - "I will not serve," so also his disciples in the White House refuse to serve the people, but only their own self interests at the expense of a multitude of others and millions of dollars in taxpayers' expenses. We've seen it with Clinton, we see it now with Gore. When will we learn?
Speaking of when will we learn, let's back off the political pondering, posturing and pandering and turn our attention to preparing for Christmas properly. In this week's issues, Sister Lucy, Pat Ludwa and Cyndi all focus on the reason for the season of Advent.
It's puzzling that so many forget the time of Advent is a time for fasting and sacrifice just as the time of Lent. These are the only two penitential seasons in the Liturgical Calendar and both call for violet or purple vestments as the liturgical colors representing penance. Everyone knows that Advent means preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas. But they equate preparing for Christmas by hauling out the packed boxes of lights and ornaments, wreaths, etc., putting up the Christmas tree, creche scene; the pressure of getting Christmas cards out to people we haven't seen in years; and stretching the credit limit beyond the breaking point by jostling with others at crowded malls and stores in a pique of greed for "just the right gift" that piles on the burden of guilt. That, folks, is not what Advent is all about. That is the stress placed on society by a godless media and culture that stresses more, more, more with little thought to the Christ Child Who had nothing! Again, when will we learn that the media are the false prophets of today? Didn't we learn this from the election night forecasting that was plain and simple manipulation that badly backfired on these pompous prognosticators?
Advent is a symbol of preparing for the birth of the Savior as the people in the time of before Christ so longingly anticipated. In my many years of teaching CCD and Confirmation classes at various parishes, I've been amazed how few of the boys and girls knew what Advent was about. Some of the responses received when I brought our advent wreath in with the four candles, three purple and one rose were something right out of "Kids say the darndest thing" with Art Linkletter. Some of the replies: "that Jesus was four years-old when He was born;" "four weeks until we get to open presents;" "that wreath goes on the door, but I don't know what the candles are for." Well, you can see they were in for an education about Church tradition and what the four candles mean. Yes, it does stand for the four weeks before Christmas, but it also stands for the 4,000 years between the fall of Adam and Eve and the coming of the "Second Adam" - Jesus Christ, through the fiat of the "second Eve" - His Blessed Mother Mary - the flames of the candles stand for Christ as the Light of the world - a world in darkness for four millenniums while the coming of the Messiah was expected and prepared for. Halving that four-thousand year increment was the great flood which only Noah was prepared for. It was God's way of cleansing the earth - of renewing mankind. He has a habit of doing this every 2,000 years if you check biblical history. First Noah, then 2,000 years later the birth of His Only-begotten Son Who redeemed all mankind - from those who had died over the past 4,000 years to the time of Christ and were "stalled" in Limbo because of the fall of the first parents. He also introduced the New Covenant which replaced the Old Covenant and was to be followed by all.
Sadly, some decided His directives weren't good enough and formed their own covenants to meet their own human wills as opposed to the Divine Will. We give you the Protestant revolt of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and onward as exhibit "A" for that. Now, we have passed the next 2,000 increment in time and know intuitively that God is planning another recleansing of the earth just as He has promised and as Our Lady has been foretelling. Thus, each Advent becomes very, very pertinent and can become even more meaningful and grace-filled if we follow the Church's teachings on prayer, fasting and sacrifice. Like Laetare Sunday in the midst of Lent, we have Gaudete Sunday on the third Sunday of Advent - a time to emphasize joy, as the word connotes, for the redemption of man is imminent. That is what the rose-colored candle represents.
Today, secularism has infiltrated the Christmas season so that it no longer is even called "Christmas" because that would offend others who don't believe in Jesus Christ. Therefore it is called "Winterfest" or "Snow celebration" or some crazy coined word that totally paganizes this wondrous feast and takes away from the true meaning of the season. And, as the years progress, this propaganda oozes into everyone and they begin to truly miss what it is about, bowing to politically correct rubbish so as not to offend the Jews (who have still not recognized Jesus as the Messiah) and their Hannukah celebration, or Moslems or Hindus or even the African-Americans and their recently invented Kwanza festivities. Slowly but surely the real reason for the season is being pushed out of people's minds and hearts. That's why Advent is so very important; to realize why Jesus came and why He is coming again as we say at each Mass, "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!" It's also the only time non-Catholic Christians accept the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary whom Catholics honor year-round through the liturgy and the Holy Rosary. But, if you've talked to a Protestant lately or a "born-again and again and again and again Christian" you'll get their lame argument that Mary had more children and wasn't a virgin. It seems they'll do anything to demean Our Lady's role, unable to comprehend God's Master Plan that the only Tabernacle to contain the Son of God had to be as perfect as possible from being immaculately conceived through her Immaculate Conception, the solemnity of which we celebrate on December 8th and which we can prepare for with our special Novena carried in each issue leading up to this glorious solemnity made even more pertinent by Blessed Pope Pius IX in his dogmatic declaration of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. This Dogma is the undeniable truth that Mary was ever-virgin. The Protestants can quote all the scripture they want, they can try to create summations of the oft-quoted scriptural passage in John 14: 6, "No one comes to the Father, but through Me" in which they assume that means you can't pray to anyone else except Jesus. How wrong they are if they would only read further like the passages in Matthew 11: 27 and Luke 10: 22. As for the bit about Jesus having brothers and sisters, Matthew 12: 49 sums this up nicely. In summary, there is no debate on any of this. God said it, the Church decreed it, end of discussion!
Speaking of "end of discussion," this editorial is just about there. Advent is a time of penance and sacrifice and God has a wonderful way of reminding us of it and our finite humanness. It's called the flu and it has been visited on Americans in droves this time of year. The bug has caught our family and this editor is fighting the effects of the blahs, runs, sorethroat, achiness and cramps, not to mention severe arthritis and allergies from the fluctuation from humid conditions to Santa Ana dry winds. It seems to hit at the very same time each year and brings home the fact that we are all still very susceptible to these annual reminders of our feebleness. Looking back over the last several years, it seems we always have had problems in the first week of Advent - during the time preparing for the Immaculate Conception. Why do you think that is? The answer is simple. Satan hates the Blessed Mother and no feast is more spiteful to him than the Immaculate Conception for it elevates Mary to the level of being the only human being born without Original Sin. It also designates that through her the Immaculate Divine Savior would become flesh, be crucified, die and overcome death - paving the way through His ultimate sacrifice for all God's children to be saved from the clutches of the evil one. If you think Al Gore doesn't like losing votes, think how incensed satan is that he's losing souls. Therefore, we have come to accept this time of the year as being the target of his wrath. Since we are reaching over 25,000 daily and have had nearly eight and a half million hits this year alone from over 120 countries, we're not surprised at his attacks. Like Blessed Padre Pio, Saint John Vianney, Saint Martin de Porres, many other saints, many other finite beings striving to be saints and so many of our fellow Catholic evangelists on the web, broadcast or in print, we understand this and willingly face him head-on, knowing we will be protected if we trust in God's Holy Will. It has never failed.
These inconvenient slings and arrows ol' hornhead thrusts at us are merely an opportunity to offer it all up. Even the flu and cold bugs are occasions, amidst the sneezing, wheezing, dizziness, fevers and nausea, to offer it all up in penitential sacrifice for the season of Advent. It could be a lot worse when you come down to it. We could all be sitting in Limbo like those poor souls who had to wait 4,000 years. So why don't we all quit whining about the economy, the election contest, the mad rush of Christmas pressures and let's make something of this Advent season and offer everything to God in reparation for our own sins and the failings of others. Then His coming will mean even more on December 25th and thereafter as we celebrate what many believe is the true 2000 year anniversary of the Savior's birth. We're not going to register an opinion on this whole millennium correctness issue, only that we are saddened that this wonderful Jubilee Year has gone by so quickly, but rejoice as well that we are all that much closer to God's kingdom. If you are not, get thee to the confessional this Advent and try not to infect your confessor with the flu or cold symptoms because he's going to need all his strength hearing confessions during this time. At least that's what we're praying for. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can all get through this, but only with His help will we understand why; only through the Mercy of God will we realize our soul needs preparation and regular maintenance, too. Only through the graces we receive from the Sacraments will we realize the need to offer all our sufferings, hardships, and setbacks as well as our joys, expectations and hopes during this Advent. Only then will we realize we must depend on the Holy Spirit to help us become more willing for this time of year reflects much more clearly that old addage we must seek to tame during Advent: A time when the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!