FAITH AND CULTURE | Call to faith, service in season and out of season

F. Javier Orozco

For many of us, the fashion industry remains a real mystery to engage and comprehend. Without discrediting the fashion experts in our communities, few of us have delved into the different dimensions and contours of the world of fashion.

Older expressions and distinctions between "high fashion" and "mass fashion" might be foreign to us. Similarly, knowing that the fashion industry is a result of the modern age, and that most of our clothes were homemade or tailor-ordered before modern times might escape us.

GOOD STEWARD | Advent is the season of hope, Mary is the star

Dan Conway

Advent is the season of hope, a time of eager anticipation or longing for Christ. During this blessed season, we have a chance to connect with our deepest desires. Above all else, whether we recognize it, we human beings long to be united with God, the source and summit of our aspirations, the joy of our desiring.

This longing, which we try to hide or suppress most of the year with no great success, bubbles to the surface in Advent. The hymns, prayers and readings evoke our heart's deepest desires like no other time of year.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Through Mary, we too have found favor with God

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent invite us to look forward to the birth of Christ through God's love of us through Mary, the mother of Jesus. The angel's greeting reveals to Mary how much God delights in her. She is the masterpiece of His creation chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

We too delight in His coming, because through Mary, we are given Jesus. With Mary, we look forward to celebrating His birth in a stable in Bethlehem.

EDITORIAL | Humble hearts at Advent

Advent wreath

At a recent Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis said that God will reveal Himself to those who have humble and meek hearts.

"Only those who have a heart like a child are capable of receiving this revelation, those who have a humble, meek heart, who feel the need to pray, to open themselves to God, who feel poor; only those who live according to the first Beatitude -- the poor in spirit," the pope said, according to Vatican Radio.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God works through us to prepare the way of the Lord

The readings for the third Sunday of Advent are so rich in meaning that multiple themes could be developed from them. The words on which I'll focus are from John the Baptist to the priests and Levites who asked him: "Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us?" John the Baptist responded, "I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord."

CATHOLIC BY GRACE | Advent is the antidote to the Christmas craziness

I have dipped my toes in the chaos of the Christmas-before-Advent scene. I've been to the mall once. I've landed on radio stations that play Christmas music around the clock -- and quickly popped in my Rosary CD to escape the noise. I've seen enough of commercialized Christmas even though I have actively avoided it this year.

Advent is the only antidote.

But Advent only comes to those who know how to get quiet. It hides from those who hurry. It won't be found in the crowded places and packed spaces of shopping aisles and city crosswalks.

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