It’s about time, deaconchris

To get back to posting and blogging on a regular basis.  Not just everytime we get a new archbishop.

I’m just sayin’ . . .

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Welcome and Congratulations!

To Archbishop-Designate George Joseph Lucas.

Bishop Lucas, formerly of Springfield in Illinois will become thBishop George Lucase Metropolitan of the Province of Nebraska on July 22.

May the Lord shower you with blessings!

We’ve been waiting nearly two years to hear of our new Shepherd, and are delighted to warmly welcome you to Nebraska, home of the friendliest people!

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Snowy? Retreat

I’m anxious for the week to move along, as I’m attending our Knights of Columbus annual retreat this weekend.  Each year Fr. Foster Council 9518 of Ralston, NE hosts a retreat in the middle of winter at the  Creighton University Retreat Center in Griswold, IA.  The retreat center is a former Boy Scout Camp, and has been enhanced, expanded, and improved for many years under the direction of Fr. David Smith, SJ.  The center is owned and operated by the Jesuits of Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Our Council believes that the work we do must be grounded in a genuine spirituality.  The Knights of Columbus aren’t just do-gooders; they are Catholic gentlemen seeking to serve Christ among us in a variety of ways.  Find out more about the Knights of Columbus here.

I’ve attended the retreat for many years, and have always been delighted by the wildlife encountered during the weekend.  The main chapel, named after Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, features floor-to-ceiling windows along the south side.  I’ve yet to attend Mass there without seeing deer moving through the forest.  I’m hoping to encounter some this weekewinter-retreat1nd, too.

Retreats are important for anyone serious about the spiritual life.  It’s important for us to tithe some of our time each year to listen to the voice of the Lord, and to draw close to God in a pronounced and unhurried manner.

I remember being in Rome during the Jubilee (Holy) Year 2000 – signs were posted at all the basilicas reminding everyone (in multiple languages) that a pilgrimage is about an interior journey of the heart, not just a physical vacation of the body.

If you haven’t been on a retreat lately, take some time to schedule one right now.  It’s a New Year’s Resolution worth keeping.  If you’ve never been on a retreat, drop me a line for some suggestions, or contact your diocesan family life office.  They can share with you what is available in your area.

Please pray for me this weekend, I’ll be like a deer longing for running water . . .

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O Antiphons – Messianic Titles

If we arrange the titles of the O Antiphons in reverse order, we receive a lovely message:  ero cras, Latin for “tomorrow, I will come.”  Take a look at the chart below:

MESSIANIC TITLES OF THE “O” ANTIPHONS

Date

Title

Language

Translation

Dec 17th

Sapientia

Latin

Wisdom

Dec 18th

Adonai

Hebrew

LORD

Dec 19th

Radix Jesse

Latin

Flower of Jesse

Dec 20th

Clavis David

Latin

Key of David

Dec 21st

Oriens

Latin

Radiant Dawn

Dec 22nd

Rex Gentium

Latin

King of Nations

Dec 23rd

Emmanuel

Hebrew

God-with-us

07israelstarbeth800x6002

(at right is shown the star marking the place in Bethlehem where Christ entered the world)

Tomorrow indeed our Lord comes to us.  He comes not as a conquering hero, but rather, as a vulnerable, darling child born in a cave.  Kept warm by the livestock that share their shelter with Him.  God has touched our world — and changed it forever.

Merry Christmas to all of you – please remember to keep the “Mass” in Christmas.  We’d love to celebrate this holy event with you at Mass.  God bless you who seek the one who comes.

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O Antiphons – Emmanuel – Dec 23

The final O antiphon appears tonight.  The title of our God that is truly remarkable:  God-with-us, or in Hebrew, Emmanuel.  How blessed we are that the Creator of everything chooses to become part of His creation; to enter into this world as one of us.

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

Blessed are we to have such a God!  How marvelous is our Lord Jesus who enters our world to save us!

It is only through love that our God comes to us as one of our own.  The creator becoming a creature is a truly humbling thing, if we spend a moment and think about that.

Any among you that have artistic talent can relate to how remarkable this is:  when you paint or sculpt or throw pottery do you ever wlionlamb1ish to that you could enter the piece?

Of course inanimate objects aren’t the same as people; but it gives us a glimpse into the love that is beyond our understanding that motivates our God to send his Son to us, to die for us, and to save us.

Blessed by the Lord, the God of Israel, He maintains all things and keep the world spinning at every moment.  Thank you for the gift of You!

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O Antiphons – King – Dec 22

rex-gentiumThe Lord comes with a surprising title tonight Rex Gentium means “King of the Nations.” 

O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

The children of Israel awaiting their messiah did not expect him to come for the gentiles, for the nations, but rather, exclusively for Israel.

But our God oftentimes suprises us with unexpected actions.  The gift of God-with-us is too great for any one tribe, for any one clan.  It’s an eternal gift that comes anew each year and sanctifies all time and all things.  The Lord pours out his love and care for all to experience.

If we want to be close to the King of the Universe, we need merely avail ourselves of the mysteries He left for us – the holy Sacraments.  Encounter your God by going to Confession this week – prepare your heart to receive the eternal gift of your loving Heavenly Father.

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O Antiphons – Radiant Dawn – Dec 21

dawnTonight’s antiphon speaks to the brilliance of the Son, not the sun.

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:  come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Many of us stumble about through life with little direction.  Easily moving from one fad to another.  Why is that?  What is so difficult about maintaining a steady course?

We stumble about in darkness – most of us not all the time, but nearly every one of us some of the time.  Doubts and discouragement are part of the human condition, and no one is exempt from them.

Last year when letters to her spiritual director and journal entries were made public, Mother Teresa was in the spotlight of the media for a short time.  Reporters pounced on the fact that this holy woman had doubts – doubts about God’s care for her, doubts about her faith in Him.  

Blessed Mother Teresa is not unique – many of the greatest (holiest) saints among us endured [sometimes looooong] periods of doubt.  Of trouble with their faith, of discouragement and feelings of isolation, of being alone.  But they continued on, just as Mother Teresa did with her work, her prayer, her ministry to Christ.  And that makes all the difference.

If we doubt and worry and feel alone — but continue the course of our lives, we’ll work through it, and most likely become holier and wiser for it.  If we let it consume us, and destroy all hope within us, then the end will never seem to appear.

Whenever you find yourself in the darkness of doubt, and struggling with your faith, pray to the Radiant One for the gift of hope.  Our Lord Jesus is waiting to illuminate your path, and wrap his loving arms of comfort around you.  Let the Son shine upon you, and warm your face with his radiance.

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