Advent IV

Note from the Bishop
Merry…oh, wait. Not so fast. There is still a whole week of Advent left, after all. It is not Christmas just yet! I wish you perseverance in your resolutions to prepare your souls for a Christmas that will be profoundly joyful. Be thankful to God for this last week of Advent, since it will give those of us who haven’t observed Advent as faithfully as we should have an opportunity to make up for our procrastination. The temptation to neglect the spiritual preparation will be strong during these final few days as we feel the pressure of buying gifts and decorating our homes, but we must be determined not to let the temporal part of the Holy Day cause us to become forgetful of it. Hold fast, and prepare your hearts and homes for the coming of the Savior. He is nigh! Even at the gates!

The weather seems to have been taking a role in raising our mind to Advent thoughts. It has been a gloomy, indeed a very gloomy week here in the Cincinnati area; but it seems to be lifting now, reminding one of the condition of the human race before the Redemption. Man lived in a spiritual, shadowy darkness, but the darkness began to lift when Our Lady conceived of the Holy Ghost, and the light shone brightly at Our Lord’s birth. See how even the weather reminds us of the things of God!

Fr. Oswalt stopped by on his way to a mission in Kentucky two Saturdays ago. We had a nice visit. He was telling us that he travels every weekend to various states, including Illinois, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi to offer holy Mass for pockets of faithful Catholics. Missionary work is sometimes very burdensome and requires a lot of endurance, but is most necessary these days. Pray for him and for all of our missionaries, domestic and foreign.

Speaking of missions, it seems that a few souls from Holy Face Mission in Illinois will be making the long trek (though not so long as that of the Magi, to be sure) to St. Gertrude’s for Midnight Mass. I am looking forward to seeing them, as well as all of you. Christmas is regarded as a family affair, after all, and aren’t we here as St. Gertrude’s family? God is our Father, Mary is our Mother and Christ is our Brother, while you and I are adopted children of God. It makes sense, then, that we should have our own family gathering in Church on Christmas Day.

One last practical piece of pastoral advice for this final week of Advent! Have you made your Christmas confession? Our Lord came from heaven to earth to reconcile and to make peace between God and man. It only makes sense that we should go to confession where we will find forgiveness. Neither should we forget, since we have received the forgiveness of Our Lord, to extend forgiveness towards those who have (seemingly) offended us.

Blessed Advent!
– Bishop McGuire