I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | With the encouragement of the Scriptures, we have hope

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

Advent is a time of hope and that hope comes to us through the Scriptures. Isaiah is talking about a "sprout from the stump of Jesse." This sprout will blossom and the spirit of the Lord will rest upon him. This marvelous individual will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord.

DEAR FATHER | O Antiphons mark great joy that is about to come at Christmas

Q: What are the great ‘O Antiphons’ that I hear about during Advent?

BEFORE THE CROSS | Mary proclaims the God who is greater than our hearts

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke to representatives from archdiocesan parishes who gathered for prayer and reflection at the fourth annual Pastoral Assembly. The archbishop unveiled his new pastoral letter during the event. The focus of this year’s assembly was “A Call to Prayer.”

Last week I wrote about the new Church year which begins with Advent -- a time to bring to life within ourselves, and in our world, the hidden presence of God. I also wrote about St. John the Baptist, one of two great Advent figures who show us how to proclaim through words and example the great mystery of Christ's presence among us.

BEFORE THE CROSS | The new Church year begins, a time of eager expectation


Earlier this year, as part of a series of reflections on Christian stewardship, I wrote an article on the "mystery of time." I said then that time is a gift from God to be cherished, used wisely, and shared generously with others -- especially our families, friends and co-workers.

The Church teaches that time is sacred. Beyond our experience of good times when things are going especially well for us, bad times when everything seems to be going against us, and ordinary times of routine

Advent's three stages of longing brings hope

Bishop Robert F. Morneau, a pastor, poet and ardent Green Bay Packers' fan, writes in the December issue of Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today's Catholic, "Advent celebrates God's multiple comings into our lives." The bishop identifies Advent's three stages: 1) Jesus' historic birth in Bethlehem; 2) His daily coming in the sacramental life of the Church; 3) the Lord's final coming in glory and majesty at the end of time.

The season of Advent celebrates all three "comings" by giving voice in prayer and in song to the spiritual desire, or longing, that precedes each stage.

Baptism is the greatest surprise in our life

Scripture tells us, "How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of him who brings good news!" How beautiful on the hills of Judah are the feet of Mary who is hastening to bring the greatest possible news to her cousin Elizabeth!

For almost two thousand years Israel has been looking forward to a savior. Now Mary is carrying that savior in her body as she hastens to share that joy with her cousin Elizabeth, who had spent most of her adult years as a barren woman!

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