Advent Pieces

The colors of Advent have specific meanings, have you ever wondered about them? Tonight it’s a “101” class! Enjoy and learn! Thanks to crosswalk.com

The Meaning of the Advent Wreath | Advent candles, Advent wreath candles, Advent  candles meaning

The First Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Hope

The first Sunday of Advent leads our hearts to Hope. The purple color symbolizes royalty, repentance, and fasting. This week is a time for us to reflect on what it must have been like to feel the depth of God’s silence during the period between the Old Testament and New.

It is a time to ponder the prophecies about the promised Messiah. We begin the season with a mindset that creates hope in our hearts.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone (Isaiah 9:2).

For to us a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore (Isaiah 9:6-7).

The Second Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Preparation

On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the Hope candle and then we light the Preparation candle. First, hope blooms as we realize the prophecies about the Messiah are true. Then we begin to prepare our hearts to receive the Lord Jesus.

Imagine how Joseph must have rushed to prepare the crude stable for Mary and the soon-to-be-born Jesus. As we rush through the season of buying gifts and attending parties, may we pause and reflect on the words of Isaiah:

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 40:3-5).

The Third Sunday of Advent’s Pink Candle Signifies Joy

The third Sunday of Advent brings us to Joy. The color pink represents rejoicing. We light the previous two purple candles and then light this week’s pink one. Rejoicing is our response to the Good News — joy that our Messiah has come.

The light of the world sweeps away the darkness in our world and in our hearts. We seek him and, in joy, find him.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).

The Fourth Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Love

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we reach the culmination of Love. The Messiah comes in love and righteousness. The angels filled the sky with the greatest news of love.

They visited the lowest of the lows in Jewish society, the shepherds, with the most amazing birth announcement. This love is no respecter of persons but is for all who receive. As we light the four candles, we ponder,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:16-17).

Why Some Add a Fifth White Candle

A fifth candle is an optional addition to the traditional advent celebration and represents Christ. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve. The color white stands for purity, light, and victory.

Jesus is pure — without sin and because of his sacrifice he makes us white as snow. He is the light in the darkness and the victor over sin and death. We have life because of him.

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool (Isaiah 1:18).

A Prayer for Hope

Holy God, we begin this week of advent with a heart awakening to hope. You are our signpost lighting our way forward. Darkness may abound, but you reveal light. Night may linger, but hope comes in the morning because of you. May we turn our hearts turn toward you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Prayer for Preparation

Holy God, we praise you for the hope you give us. As we move into the second week of Advent, we prepare our hearts to receive you. Just as Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem over rough terrain, so our lives lead us down rocky paths.

Pieces of Sunday

Some churches have opened with specific rules, smaller groups, masks.  I have still not felt comfortable to make this journey.  Instead my Sundays looks a lot different.  I do not “honor the Sabbath,” I do chores and grocery shop and pull some weeds in the garden.  I intentionally find time in the Word, with Mother Mary, Jesus in podcasts and prayer.  I cling to my rosary beads with a new passion.  As a new-two year Catholic, I find the pandemic to be incredibly hard, relating to my faith.  I miss the social groups, in-person bible study (not a fan of Zoom/video chats), working in the physical church, praying Adoration on Tuesday, checking out books in the library.  It’s a new normal.  I am not adapting well!

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There will always be prayer that needs to be done, and that can be accomplished anywhere.  I am hopeful for the future, that our entire world can heal from this virus and can find the space and comfort in which to worship.  Me included.

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Conversation and conversion

I like having a good conversation about why I became Catholic, it seems to be what people care about now days, and is the first topic we discuss when we haven’t seen each other for awhile.

What I dislike greatly is the morbid curiosity or judgment kind of conversation about my conversion.  Had one of those tonight at a pancake breakfast!  It was accusatory and put me on the defensive.  In the end I just said that it fed my spirit and let them push their nose up to the ceiling and sigh.  I did the latter and left the table.

Shared this theory with my SIL when we visited her last month, we agreed, it’s not like becoming Lutheran.  I mean – heck people don’t see that as admonishing.  Or Jewish; now I do have a friend that converted to Judaism and she’s functioning just fine and doesn’t seem to get hassled about her beliefs.  (Gypsy, I’m gonna need some feedback from you)!

Catholic is probably the most misunderstood religion on earth.  I should know, I had my high and mighty opinions too, when I was in RCIA (a class to learn more about Catholicism) I asked my many ignorant questions.  Why do you worship the Virgin Mary?  Why is she so important anyway?  What is purgatory all about (I still don’t buy that one)!  Why can’t priests marry?  The amazing thing is, all of my teachers were patient and gave me explanations that helped me understand.

I’m not an expert, trust me.  I attended mass tonight, my first Tuesday night service and felt like a 3 year old.  However, I was able to function and it was a lovely 1/2 hour. When you have conversation with people; whether it’s about lifestyle changes, religion, politics or child-raising, remember the other person is a human being and deserves the same respect you have for yourself.

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Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Pieces of the World

I’ve traveled to Germany, Amsterdam, Canada, Mexico and a few Caribbean islands.  I was born and raised in the United States and at 54 this might seem like a small list.  I am not a world traveler by any means, but I am……becoming one!  We leave in a few days for Ireland and Scotland.

Many well-wishers/have traveled these places suggest visiting the many cathedrals and small churches along the way.  I am looking forward to this because I want to see how other people worship. Catholicism was brought to Ireland in the 5th Century by missionaries, one of the most famous being Saint Patrick.

I am traveling with an incredibly open heart.  I want to see Jesus in a new way; in the centuries-old buildings, the faces of the faithful.

What unusual places have you discovered Jesus?  Would love to read your comments!

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St Brigid of Kildare

Pieces of Communion

The Catholic church honors communion as a very sacred act.  It is Jesus you are meeting.

The bread; his body and the wine;  his blood.  It is experiencing Jesus in the highest form.  He is inviting you to encounter Him.  Wow!!!  Powerful!!!

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While the Catholic faith refers to communion as the Eucharist, it is shared by the faiths of many.  Coming forward to receive Jesus in His most Holy form.

As a confirmed Lutheran, former Unitarian Universalist and Episcopalian, I see the breaking of bread as a communal custom, not always religious, but to share together as community.

As a very new Catholic convert, I am deeply blessed by the Eucharist.  I have never felt as close to the human person, called Jesus, that walked the earth for 33 years as I have when holding out  my hands and receiving the wafer.

Have your experiences with communion changed during the years of your life?  Do you find it more or less inspiring?  Have you been moved by the experiences of this closeness?  Has the experience become extraordinary?  I encourage you to comment on this post, I’d be interested to read your thoughts.

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Divine Mercy

Today the Catholic faith celebrates the Divine Mercy.  What is it?  I didn’t know until I stepped into church today (of course I’m only a week old Catholic, so don’t expect much from me, for awhile!!!)

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History of the Message and Devotion to Divine Mercy

The Message of the Divine Mercy that Sr. Faustina received from the Lord was not only directed toward her personal growth in faith but also toward the good of the people. With the command of our Lord to paint an image according to the pattern that Sr. Faustina had seen, came also a request to have this image venerated, first in the Sisters’ chapel, and then throughout the world. The same is true with the revelations of the Chaplet. The Lord requested that this Chaplet be said not only by Sr. Faustina, but by others: “Encourage souls to say the Chaplet that I have given you.”

The same is true of the revelation of the Feast of Mercy. “The Feast of Mercy emerged from my very depths of tenderness. It is my desire that it solemnly be celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the fount of My Mercy.”

These requests of the Lord given to Sr. Faustina between 1931 and 1938 can be considered the beginning of the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion in the new forms.

Through the efforts of Sr. Faustina’s spiritual directors, Fr. Michael Sopocko, and Fr. Joseph Andrasz, SJ, and others — including the Marians of the Immaculate Conception — this message began to spread throughout the world.

Further information

Pieces of Adoration

On my journey to becoming Catholic, I have experienced God on a deeper level, mainly through new ways of prayer.  Adoration is one that I find incredibly moving and soulful.

Webster defines it as this:   the act of adoring, the state of being adored

The first time I experienced the Adoration prayer was during the 2nd day of a 3-day retreat by Fr. Dave Pivonka at my parish.  Google him if you haven’t heard him speak; he is truly a messenger of God.  He carried this very large gold & flashy cross from the front of the church to every row filled by people.

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I have since learned this is called the “monstrance”, containing Jesus — body, soul, blood, and divinity.

Fr. Dave encouraged us to bow our heads and pray.  I don’t know how much time went by, but I found myself in a deep, meditative state, filled with joy and tears.  I was overcome by God’s grace.

Our parish prays adoration every Tuesday from 8:30 am to 8 pm.  I try to go each week, and although I haven’t experienced that same feeling from the first time, I do feel that I am in the presence of our most holy and heavenly Christ when I pray in this setting.

It’s not so much becoming Catholic as it is rediscovering Jesus in a new light, He is touching my life in places I never knew existed.