This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
ts of the post"es 10: #4-#$; %atthe& #: 1#-17 What is our daily practice regarding water? And how does it compare to the daily practice of those we serve in the movement of Catholic Charities across the USA? From the vantage point of the “haves,” consider the following we turn on the dishwasher, stop to get coffee that someone else ma!es, put up the um"rella as we race to and then duc! into the car# $ live in the upper %idwest where we "uild domed stadiums and s!yways "etween downtown "uildings for passage through all four seasons# We put a lot of energy and resources into avoiding the water# Consider the vantage point of those we are called to serve washing one&s face and "rushing one&s teeth in a pu"lic sin!, soa!ed to the "one waiting for a "us at a stop with no shelter, su"standard housing with lea!ing pipes and toilets driving up water "ills, and often and regularly stuc! in the elements with no place to duc! for cover# 'here aren&t the energy or the resources to avoid the water# 'oday&s (ospel provides the e)ample of *esus when considering the daily practice regarding water# *ohn, li!e many of the close disciples of *esus, got it mi)ed up# +e tried to tell *esus to avoid the water, in this case the waters of "aptism# *esus ma!es it clear that avoiding the water is not the path of faithfulness# ,ncountering the water is pleasing to (od# -eople preparing for "aptism respond to (od&s invitation to come to the water# What we do after that initial encounter with the water is up to us# $t is why the teaching of *esus and Catholic social teaching ma!e a preferential place for those who cannot avoid the water, namely the poor and vulnera"le# (od calls those who encounter the water to .oin and serve those who cannot avoid it# $n the /ite of 0aptism, parents, after as!ing for "aptism, are reminded that they “are accepting responsi"ility of training 1their child2 in the practice of the faith, 1and their2 duty to "ring them up to !eep (od&s commandments as Christ taught us, "y loving (od and our neigh"or 134562#” 7isciples should note that the response after encountering the water is to "e a"out love, of (od and neigh"or# 'he encounter with water is not a"out rules and institution# $t is not a"out constructing ways to avoid the water in the future# $t is .oining through the waters, with *esus, those who cannot avoid the water#
4# As we conclude this Christmas season and pour ourselves into 8rdinary time, what renewed energy and resources can help us encounter the water? 9# 7o you !now the date of your "aptism? 'he day you first encountered the water? %ar! it and cele"rate# %ichael -# (riffin %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section and 7irector of Faith Formation, -a) Christi Catholic Community: ,den -rairie, %; January ', 2014 (he )o"emnity of the *piphany of the Lord Isaiah 60:1-6; *phesians #:2-#a, '-6; %atthe& 2:1-12 ,piphany, the feast we cele"rate today, means “showing forth#” 'he 'hree <ings were the first to see the light of Christ showing forth to all far corners of the earth# 'hey recogni=ed *esus as a special "a"y, the %essiah, the 7ivine ta!ing on our human e)istence# 'he %agi&s response to Christ&s epiphany was reverence and gift giving# 'han! (od for those prophets who provide an understanding “epiphany” for us two thousand years after the life of Christ# $ was "lessed to attend the dedication of a hospice in Washington, 7#C#, when %other 'eresa shared these words with us at Catholic Charities and with our guests, “8ur wor! is a continual contact with Christ in his wor!# $t is the same contact with Christ in his wor!# $t is the same contact we have during %ass and in the 0lessed Sacrament# 'here we have *esus in the appearance of "read# 0ut here in 7#C#&s inner city, in the "ro!en "ody, in the children, we see Christ and touch him#” /eflection >uestions? 4# +ave we recogni=ed and revered Christ in those we serve, li!e the %agi and %other 'eresa?
9# +ow well have we "een a"le to demonstrate a generous and loving spirit towards colleagues and clients ali!e? @# +ow often does the gift of ourselves include laughter to !eep the world in perspective and Christ in our hearts? 'he Aery /ev# 7avid *# 0ergner, S7S ,)ecutive 7irector, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of %ilwau!ee
January 4, 2014 %emoria" )t+ *"i,a-eth nn )eton I John #: 7-10, John 1: #'-42 +ere are my thoughts as $ read 4 *ohn @?B 45# +mmm# WellCo!ay# Det me see if $ get this# We !now (od&s children from the devil&s children "y their actions# Unholy actionsEdevil# Failing to love our "rother 1sister2Edevil# And yet no one "egotten of (od acts sinfully 1in (enesis $ am told that man FwomanG is made in the image of (od, in his image and li!eness2# 8!ay# 'hen where does failure to act come in? $ need some help here# Det&s turn the page to *ohn 4?@H I9# ;ow what gra""ed me was the model that *esus used to grow his “team#” 'he rest of the chapter fills this out with -hilip and ;athanael# 'he model was an as! to come and see# ;ow, if $ tried thatJhmmmJwould anyone follow me? 8r if $ said, “7o you want to live life to the fullest? 7o you want to let out that huge potential 1a!a child of (od2 that you possess "y .oining my “team,” my “tri"e,” the /oman Catholic Church where we avoid unholy actions and strive to love our "rothers and sisters? A gathering, a tri"e, where we are saved together loving our "rothers and sisters# Would you come and .oin my tri"e? For reflection? 4# -ause at the end of today# 7id you invite, or feel invited, to .oin someone&s or organi=ation&s team today? $f so, how did you respond?
9# 'oday is also the memorial of the first U#S# "orn saint, ,li=a"eth Ann Seton# What can we learn from her life? 7avid * 7utsch!e Catholic $dentity and ,)ternal /elations, Catholic Charities of Douisville, $nc#
January #, 2014 Friday -efore *piphany I John 2: 2.-#: 6; John 1: 2.-#4 I can still remember the anxiety I felt the first time I walked into our homeless shelter for men. I was worried and a little scared. Would I see any of the men? What would they be like? What would they say? What would I say? Sure enough, as I walked into the dining room, I saw that a man was sitting at one of the tables. He was staring and wrapping his fingers. I thought…oh boy…here goes. nd as I walked toward him, he looked up and said, !ust as any other person would say, "Hi, how#re you doing?$ %&ery day in our work in 'atholic 'harities we ha&e experiences like this one…experiences in which the Holy Spirit breaks through and says "Hello, meet another child of the good and lo&ing (od.$ *ohn the 0aptist was "lessed to serve amidst *esus during his ministry# 'hough the two had different sets of disciples and different audiences, today&s (ospel reminds us that they were aware and appreciative of each others& ministries# Di!e the “epiphany moment” that *ohn the 0aptist e)perienced in today&s (ospel, we have epiphanies in our service in our homeless shelters, food distri"ution sites, counseling sessions, and even meetings with co wor!ers, human service partners, and government officials# We are reminded this Christmas season of the fortunate moments that we have, perhaps too many to count, of our own encounters with *esus, .ust as (od shared himself with us "y ta!ing human form thousands of years ago# For reflection? 4# 'a!e a moment at the end of the day today to reflect on the e)perience of the last 9I hours and note any which were “epiphany” moments 1snapshot e)periences of the presence of (od in your life2 for you# )eborah )amm *#+rien %xecuti&e )irector, 'atholic 'harities of the )iocese of lbany Housing *ffice 0r# Steve +erro, 8# -raem# %anager of %ission and %inistry, Catholic Charities USA
January 2, 2014 %emoria" of )aints Basi" the /reat and /re0ory 1a,ian,en I John 2: 22-2$; John 1: 1.-2$ 'oday&s readings are a"out waiting and "eing vigilant waiting for the Christ to assume +is earthly role 1*ohn 4?46 9K2 or waiting for +im to return at the end of time 14 *ohn 9?99 9K2# Some days it feels as if all that we do is &ait# We &ait for the ne)t meeting to start# We &ait for the return calls from diocesan offices, parishes, and non profit groups# We &ait for the late client# Some days we appear to spend more time &aitin0 than doing# +owever, &aitin0 can "e a good thing# $t gives us an opportunity to stop and reflect# 'ime to ta!e a deep "reath and thin! a"out why we do what we do# +ow "lessed we are to meet some very special people every day# And, even more "lessed when we are a"le to provide services to the least of our "rethren# 2aitin0 may also allow us the time to thin! a"out "eing more li!e *ohn in the (ospel, "e “a voice crying out in the desert, ma!ing straight the way of the Dord 1*ohn 4? 9@2#” 'he ways in which we assist individuals, our agencies, our parishes, our dioceses, and the greater Church are varied# We run soup !itchens, we help grieving children, we assist older people in staying active, we help immigrant families find hope, and we advocate at the local, state, and national levels for the rights of poor and dispossessed people# We try to remain always vigilant# Det us com"ine our vigilance with time to rest, reflect, and reassess to &ait for that still, small voice to guide us# For reflection? 4# At the end of the day, ta!e a moment to consider a time in the last 9I hours that you were a"le to come closer to (od or another while you waited for another person#
9# 'oday is also the memorial of St# 0asil the (reat and St# (regory ;a=ian=en, 7octors of the Church# What can we learn from their lives and e)amples? Co>uese D# Williams 7irector of -arish Social %inistry, Catholic Charities of Southeast 'e)as, $nc# January 1, 2014 )o"emnity of %ary, the 3o"y %other of /od 1um-ers 6: 22-27, /a"atians 4:4-7, Lu4e 2: 16-21 ,he (od-+earer ".ou are no longer a sla&e but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through (od.$ (alatians I? B
8ut of the corner of my eye $ saw her, standing on the corner of our street, her life "reath hanging fro=en in the sunlight# Still young, though cradling an even younger life, swaddled against the cold, she was watching, waiting for the "us# 'he colorful headscarf and "ati! layers wrapped tightly around her revealed distant origins# For the "riefest instant, "efore the turning of the traffic light, our eyes met# $n that glance $ saw weariness and worry, the weight of life yet to "e lived, in a strange new place# So, $ pondered her woes# +ow did she come to "e here? Where was she headed? Who would help her? +ow would she manage this fragile new life? ;o angel song to herald them# ;o shepherds to visit# ;o watchful *oseph to protect this fragment of a family# 0ut, stepping onto the "us, she flashed a "rilliant smile and warmly waved to another watchful mother on the other side of the street# "/ay the 0ord bless you and keep you.$ ;um"ers L?9I +er infectious smile "lessed the morning with radiant hope# And isn&t this .ust how (od comes to "e with us, in the vulnera"ility of a girl, "earing life into a cold world? Who !nows what promises, pro"lems, possi"ilities await this young mother and her infant?
What !ind of world welcomes young girls and their "a"ies on any corner of (od&s (ood ,arth? $n this fresh new year to come, who will herald them, who will watch over them, who will visit them, who will listen to them? Who will shower them with gifts, guide them out of harm&s way, and "less them with opportunities? $f not we, then who? And how richly "lessed we will "e should we ma!e room for another mother and child, gift from (od# "+ut /ary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.$ Du!e 9? 46 *oe (rant 7irector of ,ngaging Spirituality, *ustFaith %inistries 5e!em-er #1, 201# (he )e6enth 5ay in the 7!ta6e of 8hristmas I John 2: 1$-21; John 1: 1-1$ At the center of today&s readings, we are challenged to !now and live in the truth# 'he First /eading considers the end times: the author of the epistles of *ohn cautions the Christian community to "e weary of those who “went out from us, "ut were not really of our num"er 1$ *ohn 9? 462#” 'he author addresses the issue surrounding those who are part of the community that deny the intimate relationship that e)ists within *esus and (od the Father they deny the divinity of *esus# $n today&s (ospel, we hear *ohn the 0aptist proclaim, “the Word "ecame flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father&s only "egotten Son, full of grace and truth 1*ohn 4? 4I2#” $f we continue reading the epistle, we see that part of the pro"lem for those denying the divinity of *esus is that in doing so they deny their own divine dignity, “$f what you heard from the "eginning a"ides in you, then you will a"ide in the Son and in the Father 14 *ohn @?9H2#” 8r, as *ohn the ,vangelist says, “From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace 1*ohn 4?4L2#” 'he caution that is given does not call us to "e .udgmental to others: instead, the *ohannine author wants to remind us of the divine dignity that Christ fully represented and imparted on us when we were invited “to "ecome children of (od 1*ohn 4?492#”
'he Christmas season reminds us of the hum"le origins of the incarnation# 'he "irth narratives of *esus depict the stories of humility and service which "ecame the hallmar! of the one who "ecame ,mmanuel, “(od among us#” $n raising the Christmas message, -ope Francis recently highlighted this su"lime dignity and cautions us from forgetting the heart of this message or worst yet, ma!ing an idol of it# -ope Francis reminds us of the truth that is at the center of the Christmas mystery, a truth centered on *esus who? “C/eveals himself not as 8ne who remains on high and dominates the universe, "ut as the 8ne who "ends down, descends to the little and poor earth, it means that, to "e li!e him, we should not put ourselves a"ove others, "ut indeed lower ourselves, place ourselves at the service of others, "ecome small with the small and poor with the poor# $t is regretta"le to see a Christian who does not want to lower himself, who does not want to serve# A Christian who struts a"out is ugly? this is not Christian, it is pagan# 'he Christian serves, he lowers himself# Det us "e sure that our "rothers and sisters do not ever feel aloneM” 1See -ope Francis# “(eneral Audience,”4K 7ecem"er 954@#2 For reflection? 4# 'oday is the final day of 954@# Was there a moment this year when you particularly felt the invitation to "ecome a “child of (od” 1*ohn 4? 492? 9# $n the words of -ope Francis, when have you “"ent down, descended to the little and poor earthC”? And how did this ma!e you feel? *ohn (on=ale= 7eveloper -arish Social %inistry: Catholic Charities, 7iocese of /oc!ville Centre
5e!em-er #0, 201# (he )i9th 5ay in the 7!ta6e of 8hristmas I John 2: 12-17; Lu4e 2: #6-40 We e)plore the First Detter of *ohn from 7ecem"er 9B *anuary 44, the "ul! of the Christmas season# Without stealing the thunder of su"se>uent reflection writers who are also moved "y this epistle, $ would li!e to comment on today&s First /eading# What does it mean to "e a child of (od? $n the five short verses of today&s First /eading, the writer of $ *ohn refers to his audience as “children” twice 1$ *ohn 9? 49, 4I2# $f we e)amine today&s First /eading in the conte)t of all of $ *ohn 9, we see the addressee children used five times# 0ut don&t thin! of children as a young "oys or young girls: thin! of children as a collective term that includes people of all ages who are "eneficiaries of the pastoral care of a loving fatherNmother# And *ohn&s readers, from the first century until the present, including O8U and %,, are thrown into this lot# (od took human flesh in the person of 1esus. 1esus walked the land--healing, teaching, sharing, lo&ing. 1esus undertook the trial and death of a criminal. 1esus died on a cross. ,he sins of all human history are forgi&en. 2eriod dot.
Can we em"race all as children of (od? $t might "e easy to imagine models of holiness, such as our (ospel figure Anna, as "eneficiaries of (od&s love# 0ut the challenge is for us to em"race all we meet as possessing the innate goodness of (od&s children: .ust as *ohn had to convince his readers 9555 years ago that *esus was human and divine A;7 died for all of us, are we a"le to em"race the impatient supervisor, snar!y client, neglectful committee mem"er, or o"livious relative as child of (od? For reflection? 4# +ow will you close 954@? Consider a random act of !indness to someone that it is not as easy "eing !ind toward# 9# 'he (ospel&s Anna is a wonderful e)ample of one devoted to prayer and fasting# (od rewarded her steadfastness "y presenting her the opportunity to meet the +oly Family# Consider a more intense prayer life in the coming year# 0r# Steve +erro, 8# -raem# %anager of %ission and %inistry, Catholic Charities USA 5e!em-er 2., 201# Feast of the 3o"y Fami"y of Jesus, %ary and Joseph )ira!h #: 2-6, 12-14; 8o"ossians #: 12-21; %atthe& 2:1#-1', 1.-2# Sometimes, the te)ts from the 8ld 'estament simply cannot "e digested without considera"le chewing# 'his Sunday&s reading from Sirach, one of the writers from our Wisdom tradition, offers us .ust such an e)ercise# +ere&s the pro"lem? $f we hear of a father “set in honor over his children,” and if we are to accept the "enefits of honoring a mother, we can only appreciate it as true wisdom if our own e)perience of parents has "een as mentors, as patient and honora"le guides, true models of virtuous living# $f our lives, on the other hand, have seen our parents commit violence, "e a"usive or neglectful, or suffer the torments of addiction, then such a te)t runs the ris! of provo!ing in us cynicism or even anger# $ often hear sorrow in the voice of Catholic Charities clients when they spea! of their parents# $ recall the day one young woman, participating in a prostitution diversion program, said, “$ miss my mom#” “8h? Oou&re close with your mom?” $ as!ed# “Well, $ would "e, "ecause $ love her very much# 0ut $ can&t "e with her, "ecause” C pause C “it was she who got me started on cocaine#” Another young woman in the same program told me that she !new "y age 49 that she was an alcoholic# “7id your mom !now?” $ as!ed# “She couldn&t notice, "ecause she was too caught up in her own crac! cocaine pro"lems,” she answered# +ow very difficult it is to "rea! open the Sirach passage with people whose e)perience of a father or a mother is so rawM Oet, something in the human spirit yearns toward the very vision laid out "y the "i"lical writer# We long for those who surround us to offer us care, healing and love# $ thin! -aul&s letter to the Colossians captures some of that same longing, in fact# Doo! at what he holds up as a vision? a people who are so aligned with Christ that they have completely
ro"ed themselves in his gar"# # # and what gar" it isM $magine if everyone we met was “clothed” in heartfelt compassion, !indness, humility, gentleness, patience, andJmost of allJloveM $ thin! we would "e simply mesmeri=ed# *oseph&s willing e)ile for the protection of his family in the (ospel is .ust such a selfless gesture# -ope Francis& e)traordinary compassion for the most vulnera"le similarly inspires us# For reflection? 4# What e)amples of people who have “put on Christ” inspire you?
9# When are you awed "y the simple touches of compassion that family mem"ers offer each other? (ri!ia 3oyt %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section and 7irector of ,vangeli=ation, Family %inistry and Adult Formation# St# -atric! Catholic Community, Scottsdale, AP
5e!em-er 2$, 201# Feast of the 3o"y Inno!ents, %artyrs I John 1: '-2: 2, %atthe& 2: 1#-1$ Sometimes, we "ecome so used to referring to a church "uilding "y its dedicated name that we forget to reflect on the parish namesa!e patron# $ grew up as a mem"er of 8ur Dady of (race parish in (reens"oro, ;C# Almost everyone used the letters em"la=oned on our "as!et"all .erseys to identify our church# All of the Catholics in town !new where you worshiped when you said Q8D(Q# $t wasnRt until an elementary school reunion, many years later, that $ reali=ed the rich tradition of "lessings poured out from the 0lessed %other that were memoriali=ed in our parish name# $t was a great oversight that it too! so long for me to ma!e the connection "etween my childhood parish and the true power of 8ur Dady of (race# Similarly, $ had ,piscopal friends who worshiped at +oly $nnocents Church# Again, $ had no idea of the significance of the name# $t always sounded !ind of angelic to me# $t wasnRt until many years later, during a daily reflection, that $ reali=ed the significant of this feast and the horrendous story "ehind it# +erod&s !illings were more than .ust retri"ution for the actions of the wise men# 'his was ethnic cleansing# $ cannot imagine the grief felt in that community# Such genocide is "eyond understanding#
'he Feast of the +oly $nnocents comes during the season designed to encourage feelings completely counter to those we may in today&s readings# We .ust had !ids sit on Santa&s lap and then showered them with gifts# +ow do we rectify this incongruity? When $ thin! of +oly $nnocents nowadays, $ thin! of the wor! that many of us do with pregnant mothers, new "orn infants, and preschoolers# 'hat wor!, if successful, helps individuals, and our society, flourish# $f unsuccessful, these modern innocents are condemned to a life of low "irth weight, poor health, under achievement, and poverty# 'he feast of the +oly $nnocents should help us gain strength to continue this often difficult yet rewarding wor!# Cele"rate Christmas# Cele"rate 0o)ing 7ay, if you really want to go holiday wild# 0ut cele"rate the feast of the +oly $nnocents "y remem"ering the innocents among us today# 'ell their stories# /emind your parish, your friends, and your communities that there are innocents among us every day that donRt need to "e martyrs to poverty# For reflection? 4# 9# Who are the holy innocents that you encounter? 8n *anuary 9@, 954I, we recogni=e the anniversary of /oe vs# Wade# 'he U# S# Supreme Count legitimi=ed murder of un"orn children# Spend time in prayer on the anniversary, praying for the protection of these holy innocents#
*ac! %urphy %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section: St# Aincent de -aul Aolunteer, ;ational Aoice of the -oor Chair
5e!em-er 27, 201# Feast of John, post"e and *6an0e"ist I John 1:1-4; John 20:1a, 2-$
"We are writing this so that our !oy may be complete.$ 4 *ohn 4?I
'oday we cele"rate the feast of *ohn the Apostle and ,vangelist# $n doing so we cele"rate the person of *ohn, a model for ourselves# 0ut we also cele"rate what (od gave *ohn and he passed to us# What he was given S “the Word of life” S he could not !eep to himself# What he had loo!ed upon, heard, touched, and seen he had to share to ma!e it complete, to fully ta!e it in#
$n this first letter, $ see *ohn telling us two things? we are permitted .oy, and we shall not have it until we share it, as even he needed to do# We have .ust cele"rated the $ncarnation S the (ood ;ews# We continue to en.oy that gift, "ut we will not entirely en.oy it until we give it away# 8ur +oly Father Francis tells us that we need not proselyti=e# +ow, then, do we give this (ood ;ews to the people who permit us to serve them? 0y giving ourselves to them, giving our presence, "ecoming the “real presence” with them# As we share the ,ucharistic -rayer with our cele"rant, we promise “this is my "ody which will "e given for you#” $sn&t this how $ carry out that pledge, "y “spending” my "ody in service to another?
$ give my presence to the guests who come to our parish food pantry or whom we visit in their homes# When $ am a"le to tell a mother that we in the Church are happy to share her worry for her les"ian daughter, and that we understand, .oy comes anew from the light in her eyes#
Similar to *ohn $ can say, “$ give myself to you so that our .oy may "e complete#”
Can my .oy "e complete without sharing my e)perience of *esus& presence in my own life 14*ohn4?4 I2?
9# What do $ see that ena"les me to "elieve that the Dord *esus has "een raised and lives in and among us 1*ohn 95?4 K2?
-atric! ;ugent %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section: St# %ary /efuge of Sinners -arish, Cam"ridge, %aryland
5e!em-er 26, 201# Feast of )t+ )tephen !ts of the post"es 6: $-10; 7: '4-'.; %atthe& 10: 17-22 Stephen was one of seven deacons appointed "y the Apostles to distri"ute food and charita"le aid to poorer mem"ers of the community in the early church# Serving in the synagogues of +ellenistic *ews, his teachings and Qsigns and wondersQ aroused the opposition of the
QSynagogue of the Freedmen,Q and Qof the Cyrenians, and of the Ale)andrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia#Q %em"ers of these synagogues had challenged StephenRs teachings, "ut Stephen, inspired "y the +oly Spirit, had "ested them in de"ate# Furious at this humiliation, they su"orned false witnesses to testify that Stephen had preached "lasphemy, dragging him to appear "efore the Sanhedrin# Stephen is said to have "een unpertur"ed, his face loo!ing li!e Qthat of an angel#Q We .ust cele"rated the "irth of *esus and we are already reflecting on the first martyr# What a wonderful reminder that the $ncarnation and /esurrection are one act that must travel through the suffering and crucifi)ion# *esus was "orn into the poorest of circumstances and identifies with poor people throughout his ministry# $n today&s (ospel, we are reminded that when we are a"out the ministry of *esus to "ring life and dignity to those who are poor and vulnera"le through empowerment and systemic change, there will "e those who try to stop us# 'here are times, when we, li!e Stephen, must commend our spirit into the hands of (od and !now that we will "e redeemed# Wor!ing in the area of social .ustice, with all of the current advocacy for food stamps, international food aid, comprehensive immigration reform, and religious freedom, we !now what it is li!e to "e accused "y false witnesses# (rounding ourselves in a deep relationship with (od, "eing open to the inspiration of the Spirit, and putting ourselves completely in the hands of (od also allow us to "e unpertur"ed# For reflection? 4# +ow much time do you spend in silence listening for the voice of (od? Are you committed to starting your day with silence, allowing yourself to rest in the hand of (od? 9# +ave you found that inner peace that results from allowing the +oly Spirit to spea! and act through you no matter what others do or say? What prayer practices do you use to strengthen that inner peace? @# Where is the +oly Spirit leading you? +ow are you actively participating in the $ncarnation that we .ust cele"rated?
<aren Deith, -h7 7irector, Catholic Commision Summit County 1Catholic Charities 7iocese of Cleveland2 December 25, 2013 Nativity of the Lord
Isaiah 52: 7-10; Hebre s 1: 1-!; "oh# 1: 1-1$ Dast wee!, -ope Francis cele"rated his BBth "irthday# 'he guest list was >uite interesting# 'he accounts said that four who were homeless were invited to have "rea!fast with the +oly Father# We later found out that it was three homeless men who were found sleeping under the colonnade and their dog# $t was reported that they had a lively conversation with much laughing# At the end of their time together, one of the homeless men told the +oly Father that the opportunity to have this meal made "eing homeless worthwhile# As Christians we "elieve that (od "ecame one of us on that first Christmas so many years ago# 8f all the possi"ilities that availed (od, where did he choose to ma!e his home? 'he (ospels tell us that it was in the lowliness of a sta"le# And who were the first to have the (ood ;ews announced to them? Shepherds practitioners of a profession that was not high on the social ladder# $t was here that even the Wise %en from the ,ast would have to come in order to encounter him# Where do we encounter Christ today? Certainly in the love and care of our family and hopefully in the respect and well wishes of our neigh"ors and co wor!ers# 0ut the (ospel and the actions of -ope Francis remind us that (od hides in the faces and lives of the poor and vulnera"le among us# 'oo often we spend a fair amount of time and energy ma!ing sure these people are invisi"le mem"ers of society# -ope *ohn -aul $$ reminded us that there is no one who is so poor that there is not something they can give: and there is no one so rich that there is not something they need to receive# $t is in that e)change that Christ is to "e found# 'hose who wor! at Catholic Charities or another charita"le organi=ation witness that e)change each and every day# ;eed is addressed: hope is nourished and renewed# And once again we can recogni=e miracles and the reali=ation of prophets& visions all around us# %eister ,c!hart, that mystic from many centuries ago, gives us the way to measure our Christmas cele"ration when he writes, “What good is it for Christ to have "een "orn so many years ago, if he is not "orn in my life again this year?” For reflection? $n light of this, the >uestion we are left to as! ourselves is this? who will "e on our guest list in 954I? Fr# Darry Snyder -residentNC,8, Catholic Charities USA 5e!em-er 24, 201# (uesday of the Fourth 2ee4 of d6ent 2 )amue" 7:1-', $--12, 14a, 16; Lu4e 1:67-7.
$t seems fitting that, as we reach the end of Advent, today&s readings, from "oth the 8ld and ;ew 'estaments, spea! of promise and hope# $n the First /eading, the prophet ;athan shares (od&s message with <ing 7avid, “$ have "een with you wherever you wentCand when you rest with your ancestors, $ will raise up your heirC and $ will ma!e his <ingdom firm# $ will "e a father to him, and he shall "e a son to me 19 Samuel B? 6, 4I2” We hear the fidelity of covenant "etween (od and the people of $srael# 'he tone is reassuring and tells of a relationship full of familial love# Du!e pic!s up the theme in Pechariah&s words, “0lessed "e the Dord, the (od of $sraelC+e has raised up for us a mighty SaviorC+e promised to show mercyCand to remem"er his holy covenant 1Du!e 4? LKJB92#” %any years have passed since 7avid was !ing "ut the relationship "etween (od and the people, though strained and tested, has continued# Can they possi"ly reali=e that the time has come for (od to "rea! into the world in the person of *esus? 7o they imagine that they are a"out to "e graced with the “tender compassion” of the son? Are they ready for the “dawn from on high” which will “guide 1their2 feet into the way of peace”? $n short, are they ready for the (ood ;ews? 8n this fourth 'uesday of 7ecem"er, the day "efore Christmas 954@, are we ready for the (ood ;ews? Well, ready or not, *esus is a"out to share the story of his human life with us once again# 'he sweet story of the "a"e in the manger is how it "egins# %any chapters will follow and reveal more fully this wonder child, ,mmanuel S (od with us# %ay we listen closely for the message of love and peace# For ConsiderationN'a!e Action? 4# Dast spring, after reading several inspiring and practical "oo!s related to parish ministry S 3ebuilt "y Fr# %ichael White and'om Corcoran, and 4orming Intentional )isciples "y Sherry Weddell $ challenged myself to see how well our parish efforts were supporting our people in connecting their lives with the (ood ;ews# Were we forming disciples? 7id we have the opportunity to =ero more intently, and more relationally, on *esus? And, were our actions in line with W#W#*#7#?
9# 'his fall we offered 1ustFaith %inistries (**) 5%WS 2%*20% 4aith, Hope and 0o&e in ction# %ore than 4H5 people .oined the fourteen session small group process# -articipants utili=ed an ama=ing “.ournal” which incorporates !ey catechetical themes, lectio di&ina, poetry, virtues, Catechism connections, and space for reflection: all are encouraged to share their own (ood ;ews stories# We are presently at the midpoint# 'he consensus is that people are highly engaged, more comforta"le with different prayer forms, interested in discovering what they can do to “"e the change” they want to see# ,ach group reports that they are in “the "est group” and cannot wait for the ne)t session# 'his is good newsM (o to www#(ood;ews-eople .fm#org for information# Carol 'hornton %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section: 7irector of -astoral Care, Community, and Social *ustice %inistries, St# %ary of the $mmaculate Conception, Dos (atos, CA
5e!em-er 2#, 201# %onday of the Fourth 2ee4 of d6ent %a"a!hi #: 1-4, 2#-24; Lu4e 1: '7-66
$ en.oy "eing the eccentric person in my family# $ have always listened to a different drummer and fought against conformity# Sometimes, as a younger person, $ would do the opposite, .ust for the sa!e of it# $ felt .ustified in my re"ellion and was comforted "y the image of *esus the radical, revolutionary, and trou"lema!er# As $ read today&s readings, $ was surprised to learn that ,li=a"eth was also a non conformist# She was not as "rash and misdirected as $ was in my youth, "ut she did "uc! the system "y naming her only child *ohn: the custom was to name your first "orn son after the grandfather# ,li=a"eth had a more reasoned and thoughtful approach guided "y the annunciation "y the angel to Pechariah months earlier: the angel had announced that the child would "e named *ohn 1literally “Oahweh has shown favor”2# 'he (ospel today cele"rates and recogni=es ,li=a"eth&s and Pechariah&s a"ility to discern and o"ey (od&s will, even when it does not appear to conform to human e)pectations# ,li=a"eth and Pechariah led "y e)ample# What if we imagined ourselves in one of our agency ministries in which we were forced to choose "etween the norm and the ???? A person in need !noc!s on the door see!ing food and shelter "ut does not have identification# 'he norm might "e, “;o service without papers#” 7o we respond according to popular e)pectations or according to the "i"lical call to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless? Can we tame our “power trip” for the good of a person in dire need? ,li=a"eth and Pechariah are wonderful Advent role models# (ive yourself the gift of fully participating in Advent this season# StopCprayClisten# Sometimes it is that simple# For reflection? 4# $ntentionally ma!e time for yourself and (od to "e in greater union# -erhaps this can "e achieved "y scheduling a wal! with >uiet reflection or a moment with .ust you, (od, and Scripture# 9# As! your mom or dad to share with you the story of your own naming and "irth# %oni>ue 7avis 7irector of -arish 0ased %inistries, Catholic Charities, $nc# 17iocese of *ac!son2 5e!em-er 22, 201# )unday of the Fourth 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah 7: 10-14, :omans 1: 1-7, %atthe& 1: 1$-24
Emmanuel: God-with-us Advent is drawing to a close and Christmas is almost upon us# We wait in great anticipation "ut there will "e no surprise# We !now what our present will "e# (od is again sending +is Son to us# +e is renewing our su"scription# $t is *esus& "irthday yet we are the ones who will "e receiving the most precious gift# Are we ready to "e +is dwelling place? %atthew 4?9@ tells us, " ll this happened in order to fulfill what the 0ord said through the prophet. ,he 6irgin will concei&e and bear a son, and he will be called %mmanuel which means (od-with-us. +ow privileged we are to have "een instruments of +is -eace this past year# (od has "een with us in our ministries, serving our "rothers and sisters in the food lines, those who needed mentoring, the many without shelter, our ,SD students, the victims we consoled, the migrants and families we supported, the people whose stories we listened to, those not invited to the ta"le for whom we spo!e out# 'his serving was special and "rought us great .oy# When we reflect on our wor!, we recogni=e that for many we serve, this may have "een the only (ospel that was preached to them# Words were not necessary# 'hrough us and our service, many have come to !now *esus# As -ope Francis reminds us, “(od grants strength to our wea!nesses, riches to our poverty, conversion to our forgiveness and sinfulness#” We pray that we may continue to witness (od&s presence, and learn to "ecome poorer# For now, we will simply follow *oseph and listen to our angels# We !now how "lessed we are to have ,mmanuel? (od with usM For reflection? 4# When were you the recipient of “(od with us” in 954@? 9# +ave there "een times in your life when you were granted the courage to move forward, as *oseph moved forward to accept %ary into his home after "eing visited "y the angel? Stan Fit=gerald %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section, St# Francis of Assisi Catholic Community, San *ose, CA 5e!em-er 21, 201# )aturday of the (hird 2ee4 of d6ent )on0 of )on0s 2:$-14; Lu4e 1:#.-4' +ere we are, three wee!s into Advent, only four days from our cele"ration of the "irth of our Dord and SaviorM Oet our cele"ration cannot capture the un!nowing of the event itself# 'oday we are "lessed with the !nowledge of the life and passion of our Dord *esus Christ, of +is simple arrival as a new"orn refugee, an un!nown, without status, without housing, illegitimate in
a society less forgiving of such things# 'his "oy *esus was .ust another un!nown !id "orn into a mostly powerless group: what&s the story, where&s the hope? 0ut these are the standards of the worldJnot those of the Creator of all lifeM For those who are tuned in to the whispers, the signs, the angels and messengers of our loving (od, the measures of our human e)istence are not the measure at all# /ather, we have the .oyful Song of Songs, “Arise, my "eloved, my "eautiful one, come 1Song of Songs, 9? 62M” 'his is a song of utter .oy at what is promised, what is to come, this .oy of e)pectation, this acceptance that it is ours to wait: we are not the giver, "ut the gifted# $t is not ours to shape the timing of the gift, only to wait in .oyous anticipation# And then, too, such a wonderful greeting as ,li=a"eth shared with %ary 1Du!e 4? II2 “For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my wom" leaped for .oyM” $t is not ours to !now, it is not ours to shape, it is not ours to plan# $t is ours to "elieve, to have faith, to wait in .oyful anticipation# We are "lessed with this season, to prepare, to ponder, to anticipate# $ pray that we can get our planning, our measures, our human .udgment out of the way when we wor! for adoption, for the immigrant, for the refugee, for those e)periencing homelessness, and instead see with "elief, with faith, and with the Spirit&s .oyful anticipation all those who come to us, so we may greet them as did ,li=a"eth? “0lessed are you who "elieved that what was spo!en "y the Dord would "e fulfilled 1Du!e 4? IH2#” For reflection? 4# Who is the ,li=a"eth in your life, the one who .oyfully affirms your goodness? 9# 'a!e a moment to reflection on ,li=a"eth&s e)hortation to %ary, “+ail %ary, (entle Woman,” set to music "y Carey Dandry# ;atri!4 J+ :a0"o& ,)ecutive 7irector, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of 8!lahoma City
December 20, 2013 %riday of the &hird '(#day of )dve#t Isaiah 7: 10-14; Li4e 1: 26-#$ $n the first reading, <ing Aha= of *udah 1the southern *ewish !ingdom2 refuses to as! for a sign from (od that +e will deliver *udah from $srael 1the northern *ewish !ingdom2 and Aram 1a smaller tri"e of west Semitic people2# 8ne commentator suggests that Aha= was re.ecting (od&s
intervention on *udah&s "ehalf while entrusting the Assyrians for *udah&s defense# $saiah, as a prophet of the Dord, responds to Aha= that (od will indeed maintain +is covenant with the +ouse of 7avid 1the !ingdom of *udah2# +e promises to send a new person, who will ma!e (od more present to +is people than the prophets and priests, and the promises of old will "e fulfilled# 'his person will "e of hum"le origins, "orn of a young woman not from earthly royalty# $n the (ospel, %ary, unli!e <ing Aha=, does respond to (a"rielRs message and trusts in (od despite dou"ts and fears# She is totally receptive to (od and +is promise to give her a Son who will rule over the -eople of (od forever# For reflection? 4# 7o we really listen to and trust (od, despite the poverty and violence which surround us, or do we fall into despair and turn to human institutions for safety? 9# +ow do Catholic Charities and our parishes distinguish themselves as (odRs witness of hope and love, "eing +is hands "y ministering to those in need whom we encounter each day? <evin Cushing %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section: 8ur Dady of Doretto -arish, ;ovato, CA 5e!em-er 1., 201# (hursday of the (hird 2ee4 of d6ent Jud0es 1#:2-7, 24-2'a; Lu4e 1:'-2' “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others (Luke 1: 2 !"# +ow well this last line of today&s (ospel captures what our clients see!, and hopefully find, in the services Catholic Charities offersM Whether they are childless couples 1li!e %anoah and his wife, F*udges 4@?9G and Pechariah and ,li=a"eth FDu!e 4? BG2, "irthparents, victims of a"use or simply una"le to pay this month&s "ills, our clients loo! to us to ta!e away their “disgrace "efore others#” When we serve them with respect, integrity, !indness and confidentiality, we also serve (od# %uch li!e the angels descri"ed in today&s Scriptures, we too are “sent to spea! ” and “to announceCgood news 1Du!e 4? 462#” 'heir messages are ours? “Oou will "e with child,” “7o not "e afraid,” “Oour prayer has "een heard,” “Oou will have .oy and gladness 1Du!e 4? 462#” +owever, these messages and whatever a"undance 1food, clothing, funds2 we distri"ute come from (od, not us# 'o impart them as +e intends, in true charity, we need to "e li!e Pechariah and ,li=a"eth S prayerful, “righteous,” "lameless# Di!e Samson, we need to "e consecrated and
let the Spirit stir us# 'hen, li!e *ohn the 0aptist, we will “"e filled with the +oly Spirit” turning “many” to “the Dord their (od” and “the diso"edient to the understanding of the righteous#” -rayer will also !eep us mindful that “+e who is to come will not delay 1+e"rews 45?@B2#” 'oo often, (od&s timing is misunderstood "y our clients and us, especially when adoption plans change, when appointments aren&t !ept, when assistance funds are low or a grant is not renewed# 'he holidays "ring additional stressors, especially to those who are grieving# -rayer alone will open us to the graces of faith, hope, trust and patience on the days when (od&s timing is not what we wanted or e)pected# (a"riel tells us, as he did Pechariah, to "elieve that (od&s good news “will "e fulfilled at their proper time#” 8nly then will we "e “a people fit for the Dord” and serve others in a way that glorifies our Savior# For reflection? 4# How open are you to God’s timing? 2. Does impatience with co-workers, haste, or frustration with clients dilute the “charity of your work? !ee www#youtu"e#comNwatch?vELsli"'76%F5 ". #an you share with someone a time when $%&' agenda(schedule failed, )ut God’s timing was *+',+#- and your “disgrace )efore others was taken away? <%y mouth sha"" -e fi""ed &ith your praise, and I &i"" sin0 your 0"ory=> ?;sa"m 71:$@ (wen +all, %SW, DCSW Counselor: Catholic Charities of the 7iocese of De)ington 5e!em-er 1$, 201# 2ednesday of the (hird 2ee4 of d6ent Jeremiah 2#: '-$; ;sa"m 72: 1-2, 12-1#, 1$-1.; %atthe& 1: 1$-2' 'he -salm /esponse generally serves as a commentary on the First /eading# When $ read the two together, $ noticed how the word Austi!e occurred three times? “C'his is the name they gave him? T'he Dord our *ustice 1*eremiah 9L? @"2:&” “8 (od, with your .udgment endow the !ing, and with your .ustice, the !ing&s son 1-salm B9? 42:” and “+e shall govern your people with .ustice and your afflicted ones with .udgment 1-salm B9? 92#” “*ustice” is used many times in scripture, and in today&s -salm, $ associate .ustice as a force that levels the playing field "etween the haves and the have nots# 'his is >uite different than the position held "y some, who might thin! that if we could only “convert” those who are poor to "e li!e “us,” everything would "e fine# %ore than once in the last few months, $ have found myself e)plaining my position to others that we must charita"ly outreach "ecause (od has a preferential option for the poor, this is what (od commands us to do, and this is how we come closer to (od# 'here are different forms of outreach performed "y different people: for some, it is alms giving# For others, it may "e .o" mentoring or home repair or construction# For others, it could "e
.oining the marginali=ed in a community development or social enterprise initiative# For yet others, it could "e lo""ying "efore the city council, county "oard, state legislature, or U#S# Congress to insure that low income people receive as fair a sha!e in government services as others# We are "lessed to wor!, volunteer, or donate toward Catholic Charities, the arm of the United States Catholic community that wholeheartedly responds to today&s -salm, "He shall ha&e pity for the lowly and the poor7 the li&es of the poor he shall sa&e 82salm 9:; <=>.$ For reflection? 4# 'he First /eading and the -salm "oth spea! of those with less gaining or regaining status# +ave you ever had a turn toward "etter fortune in your life, and if so, how did your respond to (od? 9# 'oday&s (ospel introduces *esus& title ,mmanuel 1“(od is with us”2# $n what practical ways do you attempt to !now and love *esus more, our "rother “(od is with us”? 0r# Steve +erro, 8# -raem# %anager of %ission and %inistry, Catholic Charities USA 5e!em-er 17, 201# (uesday of the (hird 2ee4 of d6ent /enesis 4.: 2, $-10; %atthe& 1: 1-17 While reflecting on the genealogy of *esus, $ immediately thought of St# *oseph 1so did -ope Francis, who called him the “-rotector of %ary, *esus, and the Church” in his homily when he was inaugurated as our -ope2# *esus is the son of (odCperiod# While we view St# *oseph as the great protector of his family, one cannot help "ut wonder if *oseph ever felt li!e a “step” 7ad or an adoptive parent of *esus# 8ur faith does lift up %ary, *oseph and *esus as the model family: actually, the model “"lended” family, not unli!e the "lended families who come to Catholic Charities to receive assistance in all of our programs# With adoptions, we wor! hard at changing the old and often misunderstood mindset and language used in defining the new family ma!eup# When $ reflected over the generations recorded in %athew 4? 4 4B, $ paused at 7avid, who fathered his son Solomon from the wife of another man, and then Solomon, who had B55 wives and @55 concu"ines# 'al! a"out the need for “family values” in the lineage of *esusM *esus came to restore order to all that was "ro!en, then and now# +e restores order to all that is "ro!en in our own lives and in the lives of our families at Catholic Charities# When $ met my wife @5 years ago, she was a single %om with a year old son# $ immediately adopted him after our marriage# From the moment $ met him, $ prayed from the depths of my soul that he would "e of my flesh and "lood#
At %ass, we encounter *esus "y parta!ing of his flesh and "lood# %y son is my flesh and "lood, affirmed "y encountering and "elieving in *esus Christ# $ have witnessed this same love and incredi"le spirit filled union when a new "orn infant is placed into the arms of an adoptive couple at Catholic Charities# Creating “forever families” through adoptions remains a central tenant of the Church and is affirmed in today&s readings# 'he struggles families face today are not unli!e the struggles families faced throughout the millennia# *esus is the new Adam# +e gave all of us the opportunity to "ecome the new $srael, to share in his genealogy as a descendant of A"raham and to "ecome (od&s chosen people# *esus restores order and overcomes sin, regardless of our definition of family# For reflection? 4# 'a!e a moment to pray for and perhaps personally ac!nowledge someone in your agency, church, or family who has helped an adopted child or adopting parents# 9# At the end of the day, as! yourself “$n the last 9I hours, when did $ feel unconditionally loved "y others, even when they could have easily ignored me?” %ar! 7ufva ,)ecutive 7irector, Catholic Charities of ;orthwest Florida, $nc# 5e!em-er 16, 201# %onday of the (hird 2ee4 of d6ent 1um-ers 24: 2-7, 17-17a; %atthe& 21:2#-27 "+y what authority are you doing these things? nd who ga&e you this authority 8/atthew :<; :=>?$ 'his challenge issued to *esus "y the chief priests is not completely unfamiliar to us at Catholic Charities# $t may come in somewhat different words, “Are you sure this person isn&t Tscamming& you?” 8ftentimes it seems there is an undercurrent a"out the “worthiness” of an individual to receive help or assistance# 0ut not so with *esus# 'he values that %atthew uses to esta"lish *esus& !ingdom are poverty, lowliness, weeping, compassion, peacema!ing, and persecution# We call them "lessings, or "eatitudes# And we are called to distri"ute them in love and lavishness# $n this third wee! of Advent, we continue to wait in .oyful hope# We wait for +is coming while at the same time we accompany him .oyfully "ringing the (ood ;ews of +is !ingdom to all we meet# For reflection? 4# +ave there "een times in your own ministry that your authority has "een >uestioned? $f so, how did your respond? 9# +ow can we help people move from .udging another&s “worthiness” to helping people understand others& rights as sons and daughters created in the image of (od?
7eacon /ichard Sage ,)ecutive 7irector, Catholic Charities of the 7iocese of Da Crosse 5e!em-er 1', 201# )unday of the (hird 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah #': 1-6a, 10; James ': 7-10; %atthe& 11: 2-11 'oday, (audete Sunday, our readings remind us of our hope for the future and the signs of (od&s coming the desert will "loom, the "lind will see, the lepers will "e cleansed, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them# *esus came to announce the /eign of (od, which is here, "rea!ing into the world, and at the same time, is not here yet# *ohn the 0aptist was out in the desert announcing the coming of the %essiah, the hope of the people# We !now at this point that Christmas is coming in less than two wee!s, a reminder every year that our Savior came more than two thousand years ago, and that (od is still here with us in our world today# +ere at Catholic Charities 7C, our motto is “opening doors to help and hope,” and our goal is to offer that help and hope to everyone who comes through our doors# 'he other day, $ was reading client satisfaction surveys, and one after another people spo!e of the hope they received, the light at the end of the tunnel that we provided, and the strength to !eep on going that they received as a result of sitting down to meet with one of the mem"ers of my team# We weren&t always a"le to pay all of the large rent and utility "ills they came with, "ut simply having someone who was willing to offer compassion, support, and even .ust a listening ear meant the world to them# $ see the mem"ers of my team out in the community showing the signs of (od&s /eign: offering (od&s hope to some of the most downtrodden, and far too often ignored, mem"ers of our community# As $ hear stories from other program managers across our agency, $ see more and more signs of (od&s presence in our community through their wor! helping people who are homeless, adults and children with developmental disa"ilities, children in foster care, people with mental health challenges, and so much moreM %y challenge for all of us today is to see how we can "e signs of (od&s presence and (od&s hope to those we encounter this wee! and "eyond# For reflection? 4# 9# Advent is slightly over one half over# What door have you opened for someone in need the last two wee!s? $n the Second /eading, St# *ames admonishes us, “Oou too must "e patient 1*ames H? Ba2#” Was there a moment in your life when your patience was tested? +ow did you respond?
'eresa Aolante -arish -artners -rogram %anager, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
5e!em-er 14, 201# %emoria" )t+ John of the 8ross )ira!h 4$: 1-4, .-11; ;sa"m $0: 2a! and #-, 1'-16, 1$-1.; %atthe& 17: .a, 10-1#
'oday&s readings "ring to mind the adage, “Sometimes, you can&t see the forest for the trees#” As we wait, sometimes impatiently, for the incarnation of (od in man at Christmas, we often miss what is right in front of us# “0lessed is he who shall have seen you,” according to Sirach IK? 44# 'he response to our -salm continues, “CDet us see your face and we shall "e saved#” And in %atthew&s (ospel, *esus tells us, “,li.ah has already come, and they did not recogni=e him 1%atthew 4B? 492C” +ow have we not recogni=ed +im? $s *esus not present in each person? For those of us who have the privilege of serving the most vulnera"le through our wor! at Catholic Charities, do we see the face of *esus in each of our clients? As we approach the halfway mar! of the Advent season, the e)citement of Christmas 7ay "ec!ons# 8nly 45 more days until Christmas# Some of us revert to that childli!e anticipation and try to hurry the season&s arrival# Some may dread its arrival as they rush to complete the seemingly endless holiday chores# 0ut, there is still internal wor! to "e done in preparation for +is "irth# We need to see the face of *esus to receive +is "lessing and salvation# Why did we not recogni=e +im? 'his is the call of Advent S to pause for reflection on our e)perience of *esus# We need to open our eyes and see what is in front of us S that *esus is already here in every person we serve through our ministry# For reflection? .. Spend some time with %arty +augen as he puts the -salm /esponse to music# 2. 'oday is also the %emorial of St# *ohn of the Cross, mystic and doctor of the Church# What can we learn from his life? -aula Savini 'ommunity 3elations )irector7 'atholic 'harities, Inc., )iocese of Wilmington 5e!em-er 1#, 201# %emoria" of )t+ Lu!y Isaiah 4$: 17-1.; %atthe& 11: 16-1. As a counselor at Catholic Charities, $ sit a lot# So do my clients# And that&s not a "ad thing when you consider that most of the trou"le causing conversations we have aren&t characteri=ed "y sitting patiently, loo!ing each other in the eye, and listening attentively with undivided attention# Dittle wonder $ was ta!en "ac! when $ read today&s Scriptures? all the bad guys are sittingM Fear not, though, for the First /eading gives us the remedy for the rudeness and whining that the -salm and (ospel respectively denounce? letting (od “lead us on the way that we should go 1$saiah IK? 4B2#” 'raveling on the "usy pre Christmas highway can "e ha=ardous# 0ut following (od, in +is lane, can help !eep us out of the potholes#
“7id you see the nasty loo! that saleswoman gave me?” said the mother to her daughter, shopping on Christmas ,ve# “8h no, %ommy#” the little girl replied, “Oou already loo!ed li!e that when we left the houseM” +urry ma!es us careless# Carelessness leads to thoughtlessness which often displays itself in mean spirited words and actions# What thin!ing Christian, if he had the time, would intentionally plan a ver"al or physical event deli"erately designed to hurt a "rother or a sister in Christ? 'he !ey to !eeping a holy AdventJshaping your heart into a manger in which the Christ Child would find a comforta"le homeJis what $ li!e to call $onscious $hristianity# 'a!ing the time to loo! for *esus in each face you encounter will save you from doing unto others that which they, at their worst, might do unto you# $t .ust ta!es a second to draw a cross on your forehead "efore you as! for help at the mall or "efore you "ac! out of the garage, "ut what a difference it ma!es if reminds you that “what you do unto others, you do also unto %e#” 1%atthew 9H? I52 -ut a cross on your dash"oard and let it affect your emotions while driving and par!ing# +old the cross in your poc!et when you tal! to a stranger# 7o whatever it ta!es# $t&s worth it when you see the peace in someone&s otherwise frantic eyes when you show them that you care for them as Christ cares for you# $t&s all a"out intentionality instead of carelessness: "eing proactive instead of reactive: treating fellows li!e “you&s” instead of “it&s#” And all you have to do is remind yourself who and Whose you are as Christmas draws near# For reflection? Any >uestions? Well, $ have a couple for you# 4# From now until *anuary H 1the 'welfth 7ay of Christmas2, will you "e .ust an unconscious sitter, or will you purposefully wal! the Way of the Dord? +ow will you practice 'onscious 'hristianity throughout the days to come in the way you drive? Shop? $nteract with family? Spend your money? -ar!? 8"serve the Sa""ath? 7rive? And what little action can you do fre>uently during the day to remind yourself of your opportunities to "e Christ to someone? 9# 'he lives of the saints also offer us guidance on following Christ more closely# What can we learn from the life of St# Ducy, whose memorial we cele"rate today? 7r# /o"ert W# 0osworth -astoral Counselor, Catholic Charities of the 7iocese of De)ington 5e!em-er 12, 201# Feast of 7ur Lady of /uada"upe Be!hariah 2: 14-17, Lu4e 1: 26-#$ And %ary said, “0ehold, $ am the handmaid of the Dord# %ay it "e done to me according to your word 1Du!e 4?@K2#” +ow awesome that this poor, young girl, without hesitation, so hum"ly accepted (od&s will to "e done in her life# +um"le acceptance# Dast month, at the funeral for 7wayne, my "rother in law, the minister spo!e of living "etween than!s and trust# +e said that we needed to give than!s to (od for the
time we had 7wayne in our lives# +e added we should "e than!ful for the fun memories and the gift 7wayne was to his family and friends# 'hen he said, instead of >uestioning why he had to die now, we needed to have trust and humbly accept that (od has a plan for 7wayne and for us too# As $ continue to thin! a"out living "etween than!s and trust and $ reflect upon %ary&s hum"le acceptance to "e the mother of (od, $ thin! a"out the unwavering strength of her trust and faith that (od&s will would "e accomplished through her# %y prayer for us during this Advent Season is that we too will have unwavering trust and faith that +e is wor!ing in and through us to accomplish +is will in the lives of those we serve# %ay we "e ever than!ful for having a share in the wor! of "uilding up the !ingdom of (od# For /eflection? 4# +ave you said “'han! you (od” today? 7o you trust that (od has a plan for you? 9# 'oday is also the Feast of 8ur Dady of (uadalupe, -atroness of the Americas# Clic! here to learn more a"out this feast and consider what it means for you today# Carolyn /# Fernande= -residentNC,8, Catholic Charities of Southeast 'e)as cfernande=Ucatholiccharities"mt#org 5e!em-er 11, 201# 2ednesday of the )e!ond 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah 40: 2'-#1; ;sa"m 10#: 1-2, #-4, $, 10; %atthe& 11: 2$-#0 'oday&s (ospel message provides us with clear direction? come to the Dord and +e will provide# ,ach day, people who la"or and are "urdened come to Catholic Charities? the single mother trying to feed her three small children, the homeless veteran loo!ing for a warm "ed for the night, the young man struggling with su"stance a"use# ,ach day we, as Catholic Charities employees, have the grace filled opportunities to wor! with the Dord to help provide respite for these people# We act in solidarity with those that come to us, as we recogni=e the li!eness "etween us and those that come to us# We are all the children of (od, and we have "een provided the privilege to wal! with them on our pilgrim .ourney# $ thin! we should ta!e these two components seriously? coming to the Dord and +is providential care# For those that come to us, let us consider the "arriers we setup# And let us never forget that it is the Dord that provides rest for those we serve# “'he D8/7 is the eternal (od, creator of the earth# +e does not grow weary 1$saiah I5? 9K2C#” $t is through his strength and not our own that we serve, and we than! (od for this hum"ling opportunity and responsi"ility# $f we allow +im to act through us, then we will never lac! for =ealous love in responding to +is call to us# For reflection?
4# 7o we welcome those in need as we would welcome *esus? +ow can we more fully em"ody the light and love of Christ so all can recogni=e and "e drawn to +is healing presence? 9# 'he -salm /esponse is meant to "e a commentary on the First /eading# 'a!e a moment to en.oy *ohn Foley&s rendition of -salm 45@# %ichael Smith -arish Social %inistry -rogram %anager: Catholic Charities %aine 5e!em-er 10, 201# (uesday of the )e!ond 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah 40: 1-10; %atthe& 1$: 12-14 'hough a verse from today&s (ospel that reads “*ust so, it is no part of your heavenly Father&s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief 1%atthew 4K? 4I2,” is actually descri"ing little sheep and not little children, $ "elieve that we can e)pand the evangelist&s meaning to all little and more li!ely forgotten mem"ers in our society# After all, in preceding verses in the same chapter of the same (ospel, we find *esus& teachings, “Who is of greatest importance in the !ingdom of (odC#? $ assure you, unless you change and "ecome li!e little children, you will not enter the !ingdom of (od 1%atthew 4K? 4", @2,” and “Whoever welcomes one such child for my sa!e welcomes me 1%atthew 4K? H2#” A co wor!er administers a youth mentoring grant# +e wanted to support some te)t for his pro.ect with language from scripture, Catholic social teaching, or lives of the saints that elevated service to youth# 'he chapter of today&s (ospel highlights the importance of the so many “little ones” that we touch in our Catholic Charities and parish ministries through adoption, child care, elementary and religious education, counseling, tutoring, mentoring, and athletics# 0ut you don&t have to have an official role in any of the a"ove mentioned fields to follow *esus& “pro little one” prescriptions: in many cases, we need loo! no further than the very people who "rought us into this world and were our first teachers, mom and dad# For reflection? 4# 'a!e a moment today to than! (od for those specific persons in your life who "efriended you in your childhood#
9# 'oday is also the !ic!off of the Church&s campaign, “8ne +uman Family: Food for All#” Conscious of the need for ade>uate nutrition for little ones and the undernourished, ta!e a moment to pray the prayer for the campaign# 0r# Steve +erro, 8# -raem# %anager of %ission and %inistry, Catholic Charities USA 5e!em-er ., 201#
(he Imma!u"ate 8on!eption of the B"essed Cir0in %ary /enesis #: .-1'; *phesians 1: #-6, 11-12; Lu4e 1: 26-#$ St# 'heresa of Avila is >uoted as having said “'o have courage for whatever comes in life everything lies in that#” 7eep faith "oth re>uires and leads to great courage# 'oday we cele"rate the $mmaculate Conception of 8ur 0lessed %other, when she was conceived without stain of original sin, to "e the mother of 8ur Dord# 'oday&s readings are a contrast in courage and faith# 'he first reading shows Adam and ,ve in a tight spot# 'hey have "een caught diso"eying (od, and "oth "lame someone else, which results in conse>uences for the serpent and for all of humanity, e)cept %ary# -erhaps it was harder for them to "e courageous when confronted "y (od "ecause of the newness of their faith# Contrast that with the reaction of our 0lessed %other when she encounters the Angel (a"riel and is told that she will conceive and "ear a son# +er youth at that time should not "e confused with naivetV# She !new this could "e trou"le for her, yet she courageously and unhesitatingly says “may it "e done to me according to your word 1Du!e 4? @K"2#” 'his is a new form of courage among (od&s people# All others who are invited to serve (od in a special way attempt to tal! their way out of it first# 'he depth of her faith propelled her into immediate acceptance# Although we do not have angels coming to us in the same way 8ur 0lessed %other did, (od is calling us to do +is wor! today# /esponding with the courage of the saints can "e difficult# 8ur wor! can "e controversial# Sometimes we ris! alienating volunteers or donors# Sometimes our advocacy pits us against friends# ;othing in our faith says that following Christ will "e easy, "ut we are told that +e will "e with us always# Det that "e our courage# For reflection? 4# 7o we create prayerful time to discern +is call? 7o we respond with courage? 9# 7o we, li!e Adam in the first reading, worry that someone will notice that we are na!ed? 8r do we, li!e %ary, respond in courage and offer our entire selves? -atrice Critchley %enor %em"er of the CCUSA -arish Social %inistry Section: 7irector of Social Apostolate, 7iocese of 7uluth 5e!em-er $, 201# )e!ond )unday of d6ent Isaiah 11: 1-10, :omans 1': 4-., %atthe& #: 1-12 '+, tas! of life is to adopt (od&s perspective on everything# $saiah descri"es what is involved? ta!ing on the spirit of the Dord # 'hat spirit is to rest on and in us# $n that spirit, we are called to .udge not "y appearance or hearsay or stereotyping "ut with .ustice, loo!ing "eyond the immediate to the causes#
We have moral principles to help us to ta!e on the spirit of the Dord and to guide our dealings with many individuals# 8ur economic system also needs wisdom, understanding, counsel and strength to "ring it into right relationship with (od&s plan for us all# (rowing current economic ine>uality is hurting so many, actually !eeping people poor and disenfranchised# %eanwhile gifts have "een given "y (od for everyone# (od is counting on us to act in the spirit of the Dord to analy=e well and muster others of good will to .oin in that analysis for any changes in our systems so that all will "e a"le to live in dignity# (od is counting on usM /eflection >uestions? 4# What are some economic system causes of the suffering of people coming to us for help? 9# What are availa"le partnerships to ma!e systems more .ust? Sr# %ary Schmuc!, /S% Catholic $dentity and ,)ternal /elations, Catholic Charities of Douisville 5e!em-er 7, 201# %emoria" of )t+ m-rose Isaiah #0: 1.-21, 2#-26; %atthe& .: #'-10: 1, 'a, 6-$ "5o longer will your ,eacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your ,eacher,$ Isaiah =?;:? /ecently $ was reminded of the adage, “When the student is ready the teacher will come#” +ow often have $ wanted to !now something, learn something, do something and it .ust seemed $ could not figure out the way of it# We had a couple call as!ing to volunteer to help with 'han!sgiving and so $ as!ed the emergency programs and shelters if help were needed# $ was told that everyone was set, everyone had all the people they needed lined up# $ said to my colleague, $ trust that these fol!s will have a place to serve# $ had planned to call them on a %onday and the phone rang and people came in so $ did not get to that call# 'uesday morning $ received a frantic call that help was needed to do the whole meal and serve it in a homeless shelter for men# $ than!ed the +oly Spirit for helping me to wait until the answer came# Sometimes $ am not willing to wait for the teacher or the 'eacher# 'he 8ne we await is not usually hiding, "ut oftentimes $ seem una"le to see the lesson, recogni=e the grace, and understand the message# Advent reminds me that $ need to wait to see# $ need to let the 'eacher "ecome clear: paying attention, $ can see the 'eacher# (etting the stuff of our consumer society out of the way ma!es the lens more clear, the insights more significant and the lesson more lasting# For reflection? 4# +ow do you “ma!e space” for the 'eacher to teacher? What has the 'eacher "een trying to teach you these Advent days? Are you that ready student this Advent?
9# 'oday is also the %emorial of St# Am"rose, a doctor of the church whose oversight helped convert St# Augustine of +ippo# What can we learn from St# Am"rose&s life? Sr# 0etsy Aan 7eusen, CS* 7irector of Community -artnerships, Catholic Charities 7iocese of Al"any 5e!em-er 6, 201# Friday of the First 2ee4 of d6ent ?optiona" %emoria" of )t+ 1i!ho"as@ Isaiah 2.: 17-24; %atthe& .: 27-#1 When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and 1esus said to them, ")o you belie&e that I can do this?$ ".es, 0ord,$ they said to him. ,hen he touched their eyes and said, "0et it be done for you according to your faith.$ nd their eyes were opened. 8/atthew :@; :A-=?> As is true for many of you, $ have "een wor!ing for Catholic Charities for many years nowC#over @5 if my math is correct# While $&m sure $ have made a lasting difference in the lives of at least a few, despite the collective efforts of everyone at Catholic Charities and our cowor!ers throughout the 'aritas networ!, people here in the U#S# and elsewhere in our trou"led world continue to struggle with mental illness, homelessness, hunger, addiction and material, emotional and spiritual poverty# 8ften all of our hard wor! feels li!e a drop in the "uc!etM Di!e the "lind men approaching *esus in today&s (ospel, we are as!ed, “7o you "elieve that $ can do this?” 8ur every day effort of opening the office door, or calling the ne)t client, or sending that advocacy e mail is the persistent faithful response? “Oes, DordM” 8nly this faith ma!es it possi"le for all of us to ta!e one step closer to the reign of (od# For reflection? 4# As "apti=ed Christians, how do we strive to maintain a healthy outloo! in ministry amidst the myriad of challenges that we face? 9# 'oday is also the optional %emorial of St# ;icholas, the patron saint of children# What can we learn from his life when children and their advocates approach us and as! for help? *ean 0eil !r. /ice *resident, *rograms and !er0ices, #atholic #harities &!1 5e!em-er ', 201# (hursday of the First 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah 26: 1-6; %atthe& 7: 21, 24-27
Sitting a few des!s from the disaster response team of Catholic Charities USA, it is easy to consider today&s (ospel in the conte)t not only of tornados, floods, hurricanes, and wild fires that Catholic Charities staff respond to, "ut also foreign natural disasters addressed "y our colleagues from Catholic /elief Services# 'hough we are grateful for the ministry of these responders and pray for those who have lost their homes due to disasters in the $llinois, Colorado, and the -hilippines in the last couple months, let us loo! "eyond the literal te)t of the para"le in today&s (ospel# 0efore *esus shares his specific image of a house "eaten "y floods and winds, he disserts, “,veryone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them 1%atthew B? 9I2C” 'he significance of today&s (ospel message is to "isten and a!t according to the words of *esus# And it is "ecause of the power of this message that “Cthe crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scri"es 1%atthew B? 9K 962#” We pass through life with many wise mentors and counselors# %y mom was such a wisdom figure for me and one of her famous “Clare isms” was “7on& do as $ do: do as $ say#” $t was her version of *esus command to "isten and a!t# $n the remaining 95 days until the cele"ration of the ;ativity of our Dord, may we "e especially vigilant to the wisdom figures of our lives who invite us to listen and act in order to "ring a"out (od&s !ingdom of .ustice, love, and peace# For reflection? 4# 'a!e a moment at the end of the day to consider indicators or pearls of wisdom that you received today# +ow did you respond? 9# Who are the wisdom figures in your life? 'a!e a moment to than! (od and them for their inspiration to you# 0r# Steve +erro, 8# -raem# %anager of %ission and %inistry, Catholic Charities USA 5e!em-er 4, 201# 2ednesday of the First 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah 2': 6-10a; %atthe& 1': 2.-#7 $n this reading from %atthew&s (ospel, *esus spends three days preaching and healing# At the end of the third day, supplies are running short and there is no food for so many people# *esus ta!es a few loaves of "read and some fish and performs one more miracle, multiplying the loaves and fishes to feed four thousand people# ,very day at Catholic Charities agencies, *esus performs similar miracles# +e ta!es our meager talents and gifts and multiplies them to provide for those in need across the land# When resources seem to never "e enough, +e provides so that we may help#
What must we do to allow +im to wor! these miracles? We must thoroughly give of ourselves# We must trust that +e !nows how to use our gifts, talents and resources for the greatest good# We must pray to +im, as!ing for +is "lessing and +is a"ility to multiply our resources# *esus loves his people, especially those in need# +e wants to lift them up and provide for their needs# +e will "less those who are wor!ing in +is name so that we are a"le to serve the vulnera"le with many times the gifts that we possess# For reflection? 4# 'a!e a moment to reflect over this photo in the light of *esus outreach to the “lame, "lind, deformed, mute 1%atthew 4H? @5a2C#” 9# Share a response to today&s (ospel and (reg&s reflection with a "enefactor to your agency or Catholic Charities agency# (reg -atin ,)ecutive 7irector, Catholic Charities 7iocese of *ac!son 5e!em-er #, 201# %emoria" of )t+ Fran!is Da6ier Isaiah 11:1-10; Lu4e 10: 21-24 $saiah&s words from the 8ld 'estament, when viewed in retrospect, appear predictive of the Savior for whom $srael awaited# +owever, the prophet is not so much one who sees into the future as one who clearly sees and comments on the past and present# +ence, prophets seldom spo!e the words the esta"lished leaders of the day wanted to hear# 'he First /eading reminds us that the presence of the Dord will rest upon a descendant of *esse# 'he audience is reminded that .ustice will overcome evil# While the northern and southern *ewish !ingdoms were under Assyrian siege, $saiah reminds the people that their unfaithful actions "ring conse>uences# When $saiah writes, “'hen the wolf shall "e a guest of the lam", and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat: the calf and the young lion shall "rowse together, with a little child to guide them 1$saiah 44?L2,” we are reminded of a degree of peace and harmony that will only come a"out with the divine nature of a different !ind of !ing# $n Du!e&s (ospel, we again hear of the activity of the Spirit of the Dord# *esus starts "y than!ing (od for his role as +is intervening Son# 'he Dord also ac!nowledges that some have "een "lind, or will "e "lind, to recogni=ing (od&s presence in the life of the Son# 7o we recogni=e the presence of (od when we serve in a soup !itchen, prison, homeless shelter or while visiting the infirm and elderly? As 7orothy 7ay taught us, entertain all we meet, whether !ing, >ueen, prince, princess, or pauper, as angels 1literally, “messenger of (od”2# For reflection?
4# 'a!e a moment at the end of today to reflect on any instance that you had to ma!e peace among less li!ely allies# 7id you help a wolf and lam" to sit together today? 9# 'oday is also the feast day of St# Francis Wavier, another *esuit saint who was a dear friend of the Society&s founder St# $gnatius# What can we learn from his life? Claudette 0ur>ue 2em)er of ##&!1 *arish !ocial 2inistry !ection and 3e)master, !t. *atrick #hurch 4*heni5 #ity, 167 5e!em-er 2, 201# %onday of the First 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah 4: 2-6; ;sa"m 122: 1-2, #-4-, 4!d-', 6-7, $-. 'his reflection is dedicated to the mentoring coordinators, mentors, guardians, and especially the mentees who are a part of the ;ational %entoring -rogram# %ay the love of (od "e present in all their relationships# %ost days when $ read and reflect on the readings of the day, $ am awed "y something *esus does in the (ospel# $t draws my attention and focus# 8ccasionally, it is something from the 8ld 'estament# 0ut rarely is it the content of the -salm# 'oday is a rare day# 'oday&s -salm 1and (ospel reading2 trigger in me the teaching of the (olden /ule Sspecifically the first command to love (od# ,ach verse provides e)amples of how to live life in a way that loves (od# 'he first is through re.oicing# %y life is a gift let me constantly re.oice, not .ust on my way to the house of the Dord# 'he second is through "uilding 1or creating2# (od gives me special gifts to "uild the !ingdom on earth: let me love (od "y using these gifts# 'he third is "y giving than!s# $ have much in my life for which $ am grateful, none of which is greater than the love that (od gives me and calls me to give to others# 'he fourth is "y praying# As a person of faith, the same faith that allowed the servant to "e cured in the (ospel, $ am grounded "y an act that draws me closer to (od# 'he fifth is "y proclaiming, “-eace "e within youM” 0ecause $ am gifted with the love of (od, $ am commanded to love my neigh"or as together we create the "eloved community# $t is through this final verse of proclaiming -eace within another human that love for (od is e)emplified and the final command of the (olden /ule is completed# As we prepare for the incarnation, (od sharing his life with us in the presence of *esus, let us re.oice and give than!s as we .oin with others to "uild (od&s <ingdom of peace and nonviolence# For reflection? 4# 'a!e a moment to en.oy %ichael *oncas& rendition of -salm 499#
9# 'oday is also the @@rd anniversary of the martyrdom of four Catholic missionaries in ,l Salvador# Clic! here to discover /o"ert ,lls"erg&s summary of the four women&s heroism# %atthew -rice Sr# %anager, -rograms X Services, CCUSA 5e!em-er 1, 201# )unday of the First 2ee4 of d6ent Isaiah 2: 1-', :omans 1#: 11-14, %atthe& 24: #7-44 Advent lands at a difficult time in the year for Catholic Charities agencies# We have .ust finished giving out 'han!sgiving "as!ets, and now it is time to start preparing for the Christmas holiday "y hosting toy, coat and food "as!et drives# %any are fine tuning our "usiness plans and "udgets and launching our largest appeal of the year# $n our personal lives, we want to find that something special for the loved ones on our list# Advent is very "usy# Oet, as we are stretched thin, it is critically important that we are especially sensitive to our clients at this time# 'he holidays can "e very trying for our clients# %any have "een estranged from their families, and others may "e suffering from the loss of loved ones and are preparing to spend the holidays alone# Furthermore, our clients struggle at Christmas to deal with the fact that they cannot provide their children and loved ones with a gift or something special this season# 'hey may "e ashamed to have had to as! others to provide them with this help# $n our interactions with clients, staff, volunteers, and families this Advent, can we help them and ourselves move to the ne)t level of closeness to (od? $t is St# -aul who writes in today&s Second /eading, " nd do this because you know the time7 it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. 4or our sal&ation is nearer now than when we first belie&ed… 1/omans 4@? 442#” 8ne and one half millennia later, $ am moved "y the words of St# Aincent de -aul, patron saint for charita"le societies, "It is only because of your lo&e, because of your lo&e alone, that the poor will forgi&e you the bread you gi&e them.$ $ndeed, the most important gift that we can offer our clients, family, and co wor!ers is our love# 'hough it seems simple enough, we .ust might not seem to have the time and for"earance to "e that presence of Christian love to others# 'oday&s (ospel calls us to “0,” watchful and ready, present to the moment, and attentive to what is right "efore our eyes# $t is the (ospel that reminds us that it is not the >uantity of the interactions and the num"er of gifts that we are a"le to give out this season, "ut truly a"out the >uality of the interactions that we have with one another which ena"les us to "e that presence of love this season of Advent# For reflection? 4# 'oday is the first day of Advent# Consider writing a goal for yourself on how you can "ecome more sensitive to “living in the moment” while relating to clients, co wor!ers, family mem"ers, and parishioners#
9# 'his season, when hurrying and scurrying to plan, ac>uire, and deliver materials to clients, family, and co wor!ers, as! yourself, “+ow can $ enhance my relationship with these material recipients to include a forging of the love of (od?” /achel Dustig -residentNC,8, Catholic Social Services 1Colum"us2
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