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“Rejoice!” or

"Let me look that up."

Gaudete Sunday

Why don’t we light the pink candle last? Why is there a pink candle? My response to the children’s question every year is the same, “ Just a minute, let me look it up.”

I hate to admit it but I can never remember the answer. This year was no different and as children were excited to light this beautiful pink candle, my response was the same. I thought I would spend a little time on the subject and share it with you.

The pink candle celebrates Gaudete Sunday and its message is “Rejoice!” The tradition of the Church is that advent should be a time of intense spiritual preparation for the Feast of Christ’s Birth. Advent through the lens of tradition is more similar to Lent, a time of prayer and fasting. In our world, the celebration of Christmas begins the midnight of Thanksgiving and is marked with intense buying, stress, and baking.

We can look to the pink candle of the week and remind ourselves that it is time to rejoice, not because the work is almost finished, shipping time has run out, or it is time for the office Christmas party. It is time to rejoice because Our Lord, Jesus’ birth is almost here. Maybe I understand better why I always have to look up Gaudete Sunday, I am not participating well in the preparation time known as Advent.

The Good News - we still have time! It is time to settle our hearts. We can grow much in the time we have left, 10 days. In that time, we can truly appreciate the gift of Jesus. Immanuel, God who is with us! Yes, time has run out, or soon will, for all the details and jobs on our “To Do” lists; however, we do have something to do. We need to prepare! We need to prepare our hearts and minds to receive the gift of Jesus! Mary received Jesus in the greatest humility bearing Him as she did and laying Him in a manger. Our secular goals are different. We seek to offer our guests and ourselves: great food, a beautifully decorated house, and one that is immaculate. That is not the point! Let us gain release from the emptiness of this vain expectation, the distraction that comes from “one more thing to do”, the pain of excess, and Rejoice!

Praise God!

Rejoice in the beauty of God’s Plan for Salvation!

Rejoice in the desire of God to reconcile us to Himself!

Rejoice in the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus!

Rejoice in the Blessed Sacrifice of Jesus!

Rejoice in the Gift of the Immaculate Conception!

Rejoice in His gift of Mary as Our Mother!

Rejoice in the great gift of His Church!

Thank God!

Rejoice in the goodness of God!

Rejoice in our freedom to Worship and Celebrate Him!

Rejoice in the generosity of God!

Rejoice in the gift of our families!

Rejoice in the joy of friends!

Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

November 1, 2017

Big Week!

Big Plans!

1. Confession

2. All Saints' Day

3. All Souls Day

4. First Friday

5. First Saturday

This week is going to be great! The gifts are abundant and are ready to be received.

1. Confession -

Just a few things to think about: Many people allow receiving the Sacrament of Confession to be an obstacle. 

For some people the idea of admitting sin is the obstacle. The reality is carrying our sins unforgiven, is the greater burden.

Others have forgotten the routine, this is easily remedied – ask for help in the confessional.

Momas struggle with getting to confession with little ones. Consider reaching out to a friend, who knows, that friend may share your faith and gladly go with you.

For many, it is the ability to get to church at the right time. Please consider calling the parish secretary for an appointment, checking the confession schedule in a neighboring parish or town.

The gift of grace that comes from reconciliation is worth the effort. It is this gift of forgiveness that God want to give you; perhaps all the other gifts offered in November are really about getting to confession. It is a gift, waiting to be opened.

Tuesday is All Hallowed Eve. You can't miss it - everyone knows Halloween. Hand out treats but be ready to celebrate the real Feast – All Saints' Day. Take the time to sing "Oh, when the Saints, come marching in!" with your children in the car. Take some time during dinner to tell the stories of faithful grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles. Share your faith! Father Simon on the radio says that Catholics should talk about heaven as "Going Home." Oh, the joy of going home!

The smells of the familiar. God has prepared a place for us. Heaven is going home.

Wednesday is Big! All Souls' Day is BIG! The Church offers the gift of a plenary indulgence for those whom we offer our mass intentions. The best gift you could ever give is present. You can offer the total remission of sin for your family, friend, or enemy. Everyone who has died is eligible. You can choose someone you love, someone famous, someone infamous, someone unknown. Your choice! {See All Souls' Day Devotion for more information}.

This is just the beginning of the gifts of November but they all begin with – Reconciliation. Getting right with God is where it's at and then with a ready heart, attending Mass and collecting all the Grace-filled gifts the Church has to offer.

I'm going.

Race you to church.

Everyone wins!

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