Preparing for Christ

Are you ready for Christmas?

When people ask this question, they’re usually referring to external preparation – gifts, decorations, parties, food, etc. Society is fixated on the external factors and begins advertising for Christmas too early. (I enjoy Hallmark movies as much as the next person, but I don’t want to watch Christmas movies in October or November. Sorry Hallmark.) By the time Christmas arrives, people are exhausted and want it to be over before it even begins!

Christmas is about 10 days away. How do you feel?

Be honest with yourself. Maybe you feel stressed, overwhelmed and/or tired. Maybe you’re so busy you think you’re wasting time reading this post (you’re not wasting time). Maybe you feel excited and/or ready and don’t think this post is relevant to you (it is, keep reading).

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Jesus Is Coming

Do you know that Jesus is coming soon?

I can imagine your reaction: “Yes, of course I know. Christmas is less than three weeks away!”

I’m not referring to Christ’s birth (well, not yet). I’m referring to His Second Coming. We hear a great deal about this event in Scripture. In the Gospel reading for this past Sunday, the Lord describes what it will be like when He comes again.

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25-28).

Jesus provides these details because He’s trying to prepare us, not to scare us. He tells us what will take place, but He doesn’t tell us when.

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32-33).

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“The Narrow Way”

I’m not usually interested in poetry. Figurative language doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m a straightforward, literal person; I prefer for someone to just tell me what they mean, rather than use fancy techniques to make me figure it out.

Recently, I saw a quote posted on a blog:

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.”

I was intrigued, so I searched online to find out more. (If it’s not obvious why I like the quote, look at the title of my blog.) I discovered that the quote is actually a line from a poem written by Anne Brontë.

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The Eucharist – Part II

My previous post, The Eucharist – Part I, focused on the origin and effects. Since there is so much to be said about the Blessed Sacrament, I’ll continue here…

In addition to receiving Jesus sacramentally, we can receive Him spiritually. This is known as Spiritual Communion. We can ask the Lord to come to us wherever we may find ourselves – at home, work, school, outdoors, or in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the church!

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The Eucharist – Part I

In a previous post, Love One Another, I explained that the true meaning of love is sacrifice and that we see the greatest demonstration of this on the cross. Another way in which Jesus demonstrates His great love for us is through the Eucharist.

The Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ – and not merely a symbol. The Eucharist is His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity; and nothing can substitute or mirror this reality.

The Institution of the Eucharist occurred at the Last Supper:

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All Your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength

This past Sunday, the first reading at Mass was from the Book of Deuteronomy. Moses said to the people,

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (6:4-5).

In the Gospel, we heard Jesus echo the words of Moses. Jesus said,

The first [commandment] is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

What does it mean to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?

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