How to Keep Advent Meaningful

How to Make Advent Meaningful
Image by hansjoergrichter50 (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

In the past, I was overzealous with my Advent plans. I would make all sorts of resolutions and added all these prayers and activities; but, instead of making Advent meaningful for me, they left me drained or guilty for not doing all the things I had planned to do. Indeed, these activities became just one more thing to be done before Christmas…Continue Reading

The Difference Between a Cafeteria Catholic and a Repentant Sinner

So, I saw on a blog the other day where the author was citing an authority for a moral issue. In this case the author was citing the SSPX and said that the SSPX was “for real about Church discipline” and he was willing to listen to them. On the other hand, the author has no respect for the teaching authority of the current Pope and the bishops. When someone called the author out of this, asking about the contradiction of the SSPX being disobedient, the author replied that the SSPX followed all pre-conciliar teachings and disciplines. To which the reply was “except obedience to the Pope.”

Now I’m not naming the blog or linking to the article in question, because the point of this article is not about condemning a person or article or website. Rather, watching this exchange, I found myself reflecting on the common epithet “Cafeteria Catholicism” and what distinguishes Cafeteria Catholicism from other people who find themselves running afoul of the Church. Are all of us Cafeteria Catholics on account of our sins? Or does the term reflect a specific mindset?

Continued HERE

Secret Cynics

Advent is a time of waiting. But how do I wait?

Do I wait stoically or with joy? Do I wait like a child, a child who trusts that his daddy will keep His promises or has life’s disappointments left me jaded and closed off to any spiritual surprises? Come to think of it, how many of us actually expect to receive any joy on Christmas morning? When we are secretly cynical, we will not receive a thing, not a crumb of Light because we lock the door to our hearts. Then, we will cement our cynicism in place for another year.
As we wait, secretly longing for the dark, empty places within us to be flooded with His light, we should look to our children to teach us how to wait for the Christ Child to be born anew in our hearts. They trust and believe the words of both their earthly and heavenly Fathers. Think of a young child, eyes twinkling, barely able to sit still and contain his excitement because he knows that his dad will never give him a stone instead of a loaf of bread. continue here

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

Mary & the Birthdays of Jesus

Our Lady was the first Christian to celebrate Christmas. In the Advent meditation I ponder what her thoughts and feelings were as she marked this poignant anniversary in the years between the Ascension and her Assumption

“Historians are undecided about the date of the Nativity of our Lord although as a sort of reflex action they are almost unanimous in denying that it was 25 December as if giving credit to the wisdom of the Church was somehow a violation of their professional duty. Likewise there is some dispute about when the Catholics first started to celebrate this event as a dedicated Feast. Some say it was earlier and some later. What I think we can be fairly sure about though is that the Blessed Virgin Mary knew the date and that every year as it came around she would have pondered in her heart the events of the first Christmas and the significance which they bore. Of particular poignance for her must have been the Christmases which she marked in the years between her Son’s Ascension and her own Assumption. We cannot now enter into her thoughts, memories and prayers but we can consider those matters which most likely occupied her reflections and which perhaps should occupy ours also.

Our Lady was unique in many ways and led a unique life. Not the least singular facet of it was that she witnessed the death and burial of her Son, His return to life and His Ascension into heaven. These experiences could not but be present before the eyes of her memory every time she marked the anniversary of His birth. Each Christmas for her would be a kind of palimpsest where each recollection of an event or emotion from that night in Bethlehem would uncover a thousand thousand others associated with the life of her beloved read more click here

He WILL Come

Advent Promises

He will come,
Yes, I know He will come.

I can trust that He will come.
For He comes even on a  frosty whisper,
Lighting the darkness with pinpoints of hope.
Just as I am certain the stars appear 
each dark night.
He will come,
Inspite of myself; my shortcomings and failings;
His arrival does not depend on my preparations.
Only that I wait expectantly in the dark. continue

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

Et Incarnatus Est

When the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation began to be proclaimed it immediately provoked strong reactions. Jews thought it a horrible blasphemy, Greeks a foolish absurdity. From the moment of their first encounter with it they realised its revolutionary implications for the world of thought and religion and reacted accordingly. So radical were these implications that even many who were attracted by the figure of Jesus rejected them and most of the heresies which the primitive Church had to battle, from Gnosticism to Arianism, aimed quite precisely at removing the doctrine of Incarnation from the Christian credo.

However with the spread of Christianity and the passage of time Incarnation became the new normal. It’s implications did not stop being revolutionary but these implications for the most part did stop being considered. Humans adapted to the extraordinary by banalising it, ignoring it or denying it under a form of words which implied accepting it. It belongs, however, to the peculiar genius of the Catholic Church that it is this doctrine above all others which she has held patiently, doggedly and unapologetically before the eyes of the faithful and the world these past two millennia or so. It is this which lies behind the myriad images of the baby Jesus and the crucified Christ, behind the cult of Mary and the saints, behind the relics, the shrines, the pilgrimages and most of all behind the holy sacrifice of the Mass as the ‘source and summit of Christian life.’ To the extent that we simply consider these things severally and together as just being the Catholic ‘brand’ the stuff that Catholics do then we miss the point that it is not just what Catholicism does but also what Catholicism is. To see why this is so we need to step back several paces so that we can encounter the doctrine of Incarnation as if for the first time. Click here to read more

Sock Baby Jesus in a Clementine Crate Crib with No Mess String Straw

Easy craft with a clementine crate, fabric scraps, a single white sock, an elastic, a sharpie and some yellow yarn!

We now have an empty crib …to fill with no mess straw yarn with each good deed, sacrifice or prayer.


We have an adorable Sock Jesus ready to appear on Christmas Eve.

Easy, cheap and ADORABLE!

Check it out at Equipping Catholic Families!

Sock Baby Jesus in a Clementine Crate Crib
and No Mess Straw…added this year!

Advent and the Problem of Suffering

Advent and the Problem of Suffering

Like many people December is for me a month when I call to mind the death of a loved one, my Mom passed away 7 December 1998. There is a sense that not being jolly at this time of year is a crime against the season. I reflect on how we can use the season of Advent as a time to prepare for the coming into our lives of Jesus, the healer of broken hearts

Advent Link Up: Week TWO!

57 awesome Catholic posts linked up to the Catholic Bloggers Advent Link-Up Week ONE!
Let’s see how we do THIS week!


Join us!
Advent Link Up: Week TWO!
Don’t forget to share the Catholic Bloggers Advent Linkup button, invite other Catholic Bloggers to link up their Advent posts, peruse the posts linked up, comment over on the other blogs and share your favorite other Catholic Blogger posts on social media!

Also: Don’t forget to include a link to this link-up…in your post! If you link last year’s article, please include a ***2014 Update*** with this year’s Catholic Bloggers Network Advent Link.

Let us support one another!
Blessings for Advent!

In this Advent Link Up: Week TWO:  Please link up Advent posts
…you did not already link in the Advent Link Up Week One!