Welcome! Advent is a beautiful season of longing. The days before the Miracle of Christmas are days when the deepest longings of the human soul finally rise to the surface again. They inspire us to direct our attention towards the God of love who sends his Son to save us and set us free. The measure of our Advent longing will be the measure of its Christmas fulfilment. The following daily meditations are taken from the Advent and Christmas sermons of Father Joseph Kentenich, founder of the international Schoenstatt Family, held in Milwaukee, USA from 1962 until 1964. They make up a unique and powerful vision, coming from a deep faith and a well-tested love for the Lord and his Blessed Mother Mary. I have simply taken his witness and brought it together in a series of shorter meditations. The stories, prayers and examples used throughout are also exclusively from his sermons and preaching. At the beginning of each meditation there is a short passage from Holy Scripture that highlights the message of Advent and the growing joy because Christmas approaches. The four weeks of the Advent Season have different themes, starting with the Sundays: Anchored in Hope, our Advent Longing, becoming “Another Jesus”, and Mary, Dawn of Hope. I hope that these daily Advent meditations will keep your longing for God alive as we await his coming. He comes into our lives to the extent that we open the doors wide, clear out all the clutter and debris, and lift up our hands in joyful welcome. I wish you a very blessed Advent with great joy and love. May the Miracle of the Holy Night fill you with awe and a deep inner peace. May your hearts be touched again and again by the God of love. Father Duncan McVicar, Schoenstatt Fathers, Manchester, England
In the East, this Season of Christmas is called the Time of Manifestation, or Showing. Today is the Feast of the Manifestation, or the Showing of the Saviour to the whole world, to all nations. In the wise men who travel from the East, we see all the nations other than the people of Israel being welcomed at the New Temple of the New Covenant – the new born child in the manger. A look at the Psalm response shows this: All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord. The same is true of the key word in the second reading: Revelation. Remember that for the people of Israel this was to be their Messiah, come to restore their fortunes. By this feast, we proclaim Gods plan was to extend his salvation to men and women of every nation, of every time and every place – including us. In many ways this is our Christmas Feast, when we celebrate the Good News of the Saviours birth revealed at last to us.
As an example for us to follow, the Holy Family can seem a little too perfect: when we consider the more dramatic events of the Christmas and Easter story, it can seem so far removed from us. And yet, as todays Gospel reminds us (especially in the shorter version), there were also the so-called hidden years – the many years of family life in Nazareth, spent in ordinary things. During that time, we hear how Jesus grew and matured, and in the glimpse of that family life we see our example. The family is a basic unit of our Christian society, despite coming under threat nowadays. Our celebration of this feast, and the Word of God we proclaim, announces that there is a lasting value in the ideals of family life, and the relationship between husband, wife, parents and children. Whatever the changing details of each age, honour, understanding and love always remain the recipe for the perfect, and holy, human family. It is love that we put on over all the other clothes of changing cultures and places, to guarantee the life of the family in imitation of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit £86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has rules. The set of rules: 1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you. 2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account. 3. You only may only spend it. 4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another £86,400 for that day. 5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say,“Game Over!”. It can close the account and you will not receive a new one. What would you personally do? You would buy anything and everything you wanted? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right? You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning? WELL ACTUALLY, This GAME is REAL… Shocked? YES! Each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE*. We just can’t seem to see it. The PRIZE is *TIME*. 1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds God’s gift of life. 2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us. 3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost. 4. Yesterday is forever gone. 5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING… SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds? Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in pounds. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think. Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start “spending”… and do something beautiful for God and for your loved ones! DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT GROWING OLD! SOME PEOPLE DON’T GET THE PRIVILEGE!
Welcome to our Christmas Fayre at the Shrine. St John Fisher’s invite you to our Christmas Fayre and Craft Show. The Fayre falls this year on the First Sunday of Advent, 30th November 2014 starting at 1.00pm. Many beautiful things can be found here including handmade Christmas and greeting cards, hand decorated Candle, home baking and many things you can use for gifts for Christmas. There will of course be a Bottle Stall, Tombola and Spin the Wheel for the children. You can guess the weight of a beautiful Christmas Fruitcake, name the Doll and loads more. We are expecting a visitor from the North Pole and he is taking instructions how best children and parents can get ready during Advent for the miracle of Christmas. Please come along and support us and bring some friends with you.