++++++++++++++++++++God's timing is not our timing, but He is never late.++++++++++++++++++++

Layers - in the knowledge of God and the path to holiness

Learning about God is like unwrapping a head of lettuce, pealing back one leaf at a time. Always there is another leaf below. We will eventually reach the center of the head of lettuce; but we will never unwrap everthing there is to know about God.

The path to holiness is like pealing an onion. God shows us what is sinful and convicts us that we have sinned. No matter how sweet the onion, there are always tears in the peeling. No matter how sweet the grace of repentence, there are always the pain of letting go of the sin. As the peeling of the onion reveals another layer, so God shows us what we lack in holiness, drawing us ever closer to "be(ing) perfect even just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

What I Believe

Why I am and always will be a Catholic. "So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. Tthe living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." John 6:53-58 The words and actions of man cannot sanctify. Only the priest, empowered by his ordination, can invoke the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into Jesus so we can receive Him - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into our bodies and souls. This is the core of the Catholic Church; without this there is no purpose or meaning to the Catholic Church. There are other ways to holiness, to grow in grace; there is no better way than union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Visitation Catholic Church

Visitation Catholic Church

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Preparing to Receive the Incarnation

By Mary Beth Newkumet

One December years ago, my husband and I decided to book a weekend get-away to an eighteenth century colonial village near our home. There we escaped from the modern holiday scene and instead soaked in the beauty and peace of preparing for Christmas during a simpler time. The homes were trimmed with garlands found in nature. The dining rooms were set up to feast with local family and friends. It was all there—the relaxed holiday I was longing for. No
excess, no glitz, no rushing around. And yet, as we toured the streets and heard the history of the Christmas celebrations of that time, there still seemed to be something missing.
Frankly, it took me a while to figure it out. Then finally, it hit me. Here was the origin of the American “Christmas without Christ.” All the trimmings but no Blessed Sacrament in the colonial Church of England. No Corpus on the simple cross. No creches or crucifixes in any of the beautifully decorated homes. No Body of Christ. No Jesus “in the flesh.”
Now, the first inhabitants of that colonial village would probably be unhappy with me for calling this a “Christmas without Christ,” since they considered themselves to be serious Christians indeed. Their way of life was based on the word of Christ, the teachings of Christ, the ethics and morals of Christ. And what a gift this was to the formation of the New World culture! Yet because they had dismissed the most foundational truth of Catholic Christianity, these early
colonists also built a culture that was not able to recognize, abide with or receive the secure Presence of His Body, His very Person in the flesh the Incarnation dwelling in their midst.

Recognizing the wonder
This experience has been a cause of reflection for me every Advent since then, as my family and I prepare for Christmas. As we scramble around trying to get ourselves ready, are we simply basing our own celebration upon the foundations laid in so much of Protestant colonial America: food, decorations and gifts with a religious service to mark
the day? Or does the splendor of our festivities spring instead from recognizing the wonder of Christ dwelling among us here and now, most especially in the Sacrament of the Eucharist?
“(Jesus) truly becomes the ‘God-with-us’ who is not satisfied with looking down kindly upon us from the throne of his glory, but plunges in person into human history, becoming ‘flesh’ or, in other words, a fragile reality conditioned by time and space,” said Pope Benedict XVI.
This is the truth about Western civilization that the Pope has been calling on his fellow Europeans to re-examine thoughtfully, to “return to the roots of your history.” Perhaps it is good for us Americans to do the same. At the heart of the most fully human culture is an encounter with Jesus Christ, abiding among us in the flesh. The life of the Catholic Church—her liturgical year, traditions, and customs—is the passionate response to this encounter by faithful
men and women of every age.

Presence among us
How can we respond to His Presence among us today? In our house, we have tried to start simply, focusing on the mystery of the incarnation. During December, we put a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the expectant Mother, in the middle of our Advent Wreath. Entrusting ourselves to her, we ponder the mystery of how we receive Jesus incarnate.
Have we given Him our Marian “yes” to come deeper into our hearts? Have we looked with a new attention at our Mother, the Church, who brings Him “in the flesh” to us today? And finally, has His Presence within us become so real and alive that we can remember the time and the place when we first recognized Him?
This is the gift of the Son offered into the history of every human person.
So many of our family, friends and neighbors—the spiritual descendants of those colonial Americans—are longing for the peace and security of a God who is this intimately near. As members of His Body, we are called to proclaim the
stunning personal experience of an Incarnation that perfectly corresponds to every desire of the human heart. (reprinted from the Magnificat, December 2005)
Come visit the Lord Incarnate, in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Adoration Chapel. The Chapel is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (copied from the Visitation bulletin - December 2, 2007

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