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Christmas Eve with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 24/12/2014

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:8-14)

A old legend tells the story of a hidden bell that is completely silent throughout the year, but when Christmas comes this bell starts to ring out joyfully. Where is this bell hidden? It is hidden in our own hearts. Christmas is the time when many longings and hopes come to the surface again. These yearnings need to be fulfilled. The church bells call us and invite us: Come to Bethlehem and see what has truly happened there! When we set off and make our way to that little place of grace – our parish church, the shrine – what will we find? We will find the Saviour of the world in a manger. Are we free enough to leave everything else behind – our worries, our weaknesses, our troubles and distractions, our dependence on material things – and go to Bethlehem to be a part of this never-ending miracle? What is the miracle of the Holy Night? It is an answer to that continuous, desperate call of the human race since the beginning of time – the yearning for peace. We yearn for peace in our own hearts, because we are all so inwardly divided. We yearn for peace in our families, because there are often conflicts and hurts. We yearn for peace in every nation, in all the world, so that our children can grow up in security and have a future. The bells ring out a call of peace to men and women of good will, because tonight in the town of David, in Bethlehem, a Saviour has been born for us, a Child has been given to us! The Miracle of the Holy Night is the birthday of the Prince of peace in our world. It is also the birthday of the gift of peace itself. The peace that Christmas offers is a unique and lasting kind of peace. As the angels of heaven announced to shepherds in the fields that the Messiah had been born, they sang with one voice: “Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all people of good will!” (Luke 2:14). When will we have true and lasting peace? When we give God the glory, when we place God firmly in the centre of our lives. Whoever places the Lord at the centre, whoever has the freedom to detach himself or herself from everything that holds us back from truly loving God and our neighbour, will receive the gift of peace in their heart. This is the firm promise of Christmas. This is our prayer that we again bring to the Christ-Child in the manger: Give peace to our hearts, peace to our homes, peace to the whole world!

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Fourth Tuesday of Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 23/12/2014

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Take some time to find a moment of inner peace, and pray: Blessed Mother Mary, we have given ourselves to you, and you have given yourself to us. We have made a covenant of love with you and you have made a covenant with us. From the depths of our hearts, we ask you: Care that our longing for the Lord will never decrease, and never be held back by slavery to possessions and material things. Break the chains that bind us here on earth. Help us to sing a hymn of love to the Lord, that echoes and re-echoes everywhere in our lives. Amen. (Joseph Kentenich)

 

 

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Fourth Monday of Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 22/12/2014

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham… and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:1,16)

If it’s true that each one of us is the “result” of God’s plan, it must also be true that Mary is the “most perfect result”, in fact the “masterpiece” of God’s love, wisdom, and power. In a unique way she is the “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), that St Paul spoke about. She is the Woman who has “the touch of paradise” – redeemed from original sin, full of life. Mary, as the first of the Lord’s disciples, can show us in her life and faith what it means to follow Jesus. What are the experiences in Mary’s life than can give us strength on our journey? What gift could we ask for to help us prepare our hearts for Christmas?

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Fourth Sunday of Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 21/12/2014

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Advent is that special season when we long for Jesus to take on form in us. Mary’s mission is to care that this really happens. She is the “masterpiece” of God’s creation, she is the “mirror of hope”, she is the “Advent dawn” that leads us securely to the true light of the world, Jesus Christ. During the days of Advent we always celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (on 8th December). She shows us, and gives witness to, what grace can do in someone’s life. When we look at her, we can understand what the Lord also wants to achieve in us – the fully redeemed Christian person. She is a sign of the Lord’s light; we can be signs of light as well. She is a sign of the Lord’s peace; we too can spread peace, and dispel unrest and anxiety. Mary is a sign of the Lord’s victory; we too can be “success stories” of grace, and not necessarily some kind of “failure”. Mary, the Dawn, gives witness in her life to the three elements that nourish our Advent hope: Longing for the Lord, trusting in the Lord, and working with the Lord. Let’s look at each in turn. They can be an inspiration and help to us… (more…)

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Third Saturday in Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 20/12/2014

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. (Psalm 118:1,25-27)

Each one of us is an original image of God. We are like “photographs” of God. If we want to appreciate the photograph better, we need to look closely at the “original”. The original image is God himself. The more we see the original clearly, and love and recognize the original, the more we can value and appreciate the photos. What does this mean for daily life? If we want to be able to value each other properly, if we want to be able to understand each other better, and have a deep respect for each other, then we need to have a closer look at God, the original, and learn to see him and understand him better. For example, husband and wife in marriage, parents and children, colleagues at work. The more we look upon the original, the more light falls on the photos. We can see everyone and everything in a new and amazing light.

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Third Friday with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 19/12/2014

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.” (Romans 15:4-9)

God created us in order to love us. He is love – his essence is to love eternally. None of us can say: “No one cares about me” or “no one is interested in me”. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, attractive or plain, young or elderly, we are always the focal point of God’s love. What does he ask of us in return? Nothing less and nothing more than to love him in return! This gives our lives meaning and purpose – God becomes the focal point of our love. Everything in heaven and on earth is a continuous call, an opportunity and invitation to love. We are set on fire with love from the moment that a lasting and passionate love embraces us – and we feel it. Always the same exchange – love for love!

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Third Thursday in Advent with Fr Kentenich


by Fr Duncan McVicar on 18/12/2014

All you have made will praise you, O Lord; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. (Psalm 145:10-13)

We cannot imagine the importance of learning to see ourselves and every human being as God Himself sees us. If only we could become aware again of how great and special each and every human person is in the sight of God! In spite of all our weaknesses and inner poverty, we all are extremely valuable in God’s sight. We are not “products of chance”, we are not “accidents”, but products of the never-ending love and wisdom of God. Enjoy it!

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