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 stand on the threshhold of the end of the next 2,000 increment in time and know that God is planning another recleansing of the earth just as He has promised and as Our Lady is foretelling. Thus, this 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 venerate 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 this coming Tuesday, to 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. It hit at the very same time last year and, despite getting flu shots this year, we are still very susceptible to these annual reminders of our feebleness. In fact, last year we were down for a week as this editor was bed-bound. This year, I'm resolved to keep the issues going but it isn't easy when one starts feeling dizzy and lightheaded looking at the monitor screen and trying to call upon all the strength possible to persevere with this issue and hit the right keys. So to all out there suffering the same thing, our condolences and get well wishes, but while we're all commiserating and popping the Tylenol and slurping chicken soup, why not 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 did. So 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 near the new millennium. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can all get through this, but only with His help will we understand why we have the flu during Advent for the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!
Paul received an automobile from his brother as a Christmas present. On Christmas Eve when Paul came out of his office, a street urchin was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it.
"Is this your car, Mister?" he asked.
Paul nodded. "My brother gave it to me for Christmas." The boy was astounded. "You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn't cost you nothing? Boy, I wish..." He hesitated. Of course Paul knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels.
"I wish," the boy went on, "that I could be a brother like that."
Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, "Would you like to take a ride in my automobile?"
"Oh yes, I'd love that."
After a short ride, the boy turned and with his eyes aglow, said, "Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?" Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big automobile. But Paul was wrong again.
"Will you stop where those two steps are?" the boy asked. He ran up the steps. Then in a little while Paul heard him coming back, but he was not coming fast. He was carrying his little crippled brother. He sat him down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up against him and pointed to the car. "There she is, Buddy, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn't cost him a cent. And some day I'm gonna give you one just like it...then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I've been trying to tell you about."
Paul got out and lifted the lad to the front seat of his car. The shining-eyed older brother climbed in beside him and the three of them began a memorable holiday ride.
That Christmas Eve, Paul learned what Jesus meant when he had said: "It is more blessed to give..."
My Holiday Wish for the World Is That We all Could Be Brothers Like That.
My prayer for all you dear readers is that you, too, will begin a memorable holiday ride through Advent by remembering those simple words "it is more blessed to give." If we remember that, we can't help but have a blessed Christmas and give Jesus the best present He could receive on His birthday. God bless you!
I solemnly tell you the moment is at hand when I shall no longer appear among you, guiding, guarding and strengthening you.
Then shall the faithful remnant itself be sifted, for only those whose hearts are humble, simple, little, will be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then shall these faithful ones stand firm to prepare for the Triumph of my Immaculate Heart.
To many hearts a great grace has already been given, and through this grace God infuses His Wisdom so that the Divine Will be known and lived.
Soon, my little ones, God shall send forth the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen all of pure and humble heart. My words to many of my little ones will continue, even after my apparitions cease, as a Mercy from God.
Therefore, heed my words. Be little and humble, and do not allow the evil one to divide you. Be constantly on guard against pride. No matter how small a particle of pride your heart contains, you are then prey for the evil one.
Hurry, my little children. The moment of your visitation draws nigh! I beseech you to pray from the heart! Thank you for responding to my Call!
I solemnly tell you that already events around the world are happening which shall quickly bring the antichrist to full power. O! How your heavenly Mother weeps over the cold, hardened hearts of her children. You have heard my words for many years, but you have not understood them.
Now I say to you: All is to be fulfilled. All I have spoken from LaSalette to the present moment shall be completed.
The time is critical. The moment is here, my children, when countless of my little ones will blindly follow the false teachings of the antichrist.
Beware of all that surrounds you, particularly in your churches. My beloved priest-sons are falling by countless numbers into satan's trap, and for each one of my priest/sons who falls he takes with him into the abyss countless souls.
Know your faith and be ever obedient to my beloved holy son Pope John Paul II. Pray for him who is being martyred daily and whose martyrdom shall soon be completed.
O! Be alert. Watch. Wait. Pray unceasingly. Know that at this moment the antichrist will assume full power, and only in my faithful remnant will the True Faith live, thrive and survive.
Pray very much. Pray with your heart. Here is Peace and Joy, Courage, Strength and Purity.
I love you. I bless you. I need your loving prayers. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Death of Pope John XXII. This 196th successor of Peter was born in Cahors, France and the influential choice of King Philip IV at Lyons, France after a two year vacancy after the death of Pope Clement V who ensconced the papacy at Avignon in France. During John's eight year pontificate he instituted the feast of the Most Holy Trinity and was responsible for the institution of the Sacra Rota and the construction of the Papal Palace at Avignon.
Birth of Giuliano della Rovere in Abissola, near Savona, Italy. Rovere would go on to become a Franciscan priest, then bishop, then cardinal in Vincoli before being chosen the 216th successor of Peter on November 26th, 1503 where he would rule until his death ten years later in February. Julius was the patron of the great artists Michelangelo, Bramante and Raphael. He also completed construction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Pope Pius IV brings the Council of Trent to a successful conclusion a special counter reformation council that lasted eighteen years through five Popes. The decrees passed at this landmark 19th Ecumenical Council would stay with Holy Mother Church until after Vatican II.
Incensed by King Philip IV of France, Pope Boniface VIII issues his decree Ausculta fili in which he condemns the violation of the Church's freedom and withdraws the exemptions earlier granted as he summons the French higher clergy to Rome. It would be the precursor of his landmark Papal Bull Unam sanctam a year later which would have wide-ranging repercussions for centuries to come.
Christopher Columbus discovers Hispaniola, establish the faith in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Cardinal Niccolo Sfondrati is chosen the 229th successor of Peter and chooses the title Pope Gregory XIV. This Cremona-born pontiff, an upright and ascetical man, would confirm the right of sanctuary in embassasies accredited with the Holy See. He would also excommunicate Henry IV, monarch of France and be swindled and cheated by dishonest counselors within the curia.
Election of Pope Leo VIII, 131st successor of Peter. He was first elected as antipope by Emperor Otto I but soon was accepted by all. His pontificate lasted two years. His legacy is that he forbade the laity to enter a church after a solemn function had begun, urging promptness for tardiness would not be tolerated.
Death of Pope Clement VI, the fourth Avignon Pope, and 198th successor of Peter who was a cultured and virtuous man. He bought the city of Avignon for 18,000 gold florins and protected the Jews against persecutions. He also reduced the interval between Holy Years from 100 to 50 years and celebrated the second Jubilee in 1350 after Pope Boniface VIII had decreed the first Jubilee Year in 1300.
Pope Clement VII procures his release from imprisonment in Castel Sant'Angelo by emperor Charles V's troops. Immediately after obtaining his freedom, he fled to Orvieto and then to Viterbo to escape the retaliation of the German emperor during the time of the Protestant uprising.
Pope Pius XII issues his 21st encyclical Mirabile illud on the crusade of prayers for peace.