Tom’s Goals for 2014

As we enter the Year of Our Lord 2014, it came to me that I should write down my own goals (of course Taylor Marshall’s post helped a bit too). On December 29, I had this idea in my head, but never articulated it to now. Thanks Taylor!

My mind works systematically. For me, writing things down helps me to accomplish projects and goals much better than if I just kept them in my head. I am a visual learner. Ask my office partner at the parish, I have a list of things to accomplish each day written down on a legal pad (Yes, I like to kick it old school).

As I approach my 40th year this side of Heaven, so many things I once believed to be important and primary have seemed to drop from my life. Our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed me abundantly with a very supportive family; an amazing new job that is truly is becoming my “dream job”, a cross that was always in the shadows, but is now in the light, and most of all, he has given me back a blessing I once believed to be lost.

The Scripture passage that is often on my mind and I go to when I am struggling the most is Psalm 139: 1-5 –

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You beset me behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.”

Since I am not married nor have children (yet!), here are my goals for 2014.

TOM’S GOALS FOR 2014

1. God

1. Begin each day with a prayer as my “feet hit the floor”

2. Attend Daily Mass 3-4 times a week

3. Spend at least 15 minutes a day in prayer (preferably in front of Our Lord in Adoration)

4. Renew my 33 Day Consecration on October 7

5. Pray the Jesus Prayer daily – “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

6. Pray every morning – Lord, help me to be a little bit holier today than I was yesterday.

2. Mind

1. Focus on being more joyful in my daily life and not being a man who complains. The virtue that I will focus for 2014 is Charity.

2. Being less judgmental and more charitable in my words and deeds.

3. Set time aside each day to read more books.

3. Body

1. Exercise with weights and do cardiovascular at least 3-4 times a week.

2. Work on my sleeping habits and get to bed by 11:00 p.m.

3. For penance, abstain from meat every Friday, not just the Fridays of Lent (see Canons 1250-1251).

4. Work and Charity

1. Develop a great Adult Evangelization and Catechesis program at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona that will lead souls to Heaven.

2. Continue to write and publish blog posts 2-3 times a week

3. Expand my views and visitors to TomPerna.org

4. Publish my first book on the Blessed Virgin Mary

5. Give more talks around the Diocese of Phoenix and the country as long as they don’t interfere with the people important in my life and my job at the parish.

There you go! Those are goals, not resolutions. Resolutions fade within weeks; goals “with the heart of Christ in mind” keep you moving forward toward Him.

God has blessed me with certain abilities and gifts, it is my duty to take those gifts and abilities, received at Baptism, and be a missionary to my family, friends, and the world I live in.

Please Pray for me as I will Pray for You.

5 Reasons Why Every Catholic Man Should Join the Knights of Columbus

Yesterday, Pope Francis met with the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus at the Vatican. During his remarks, he said,

“I am pleased to welcome the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus on the occasion of your meeting in Rome. I thank you once again for the prayers which you, and all the Knights and their families, have offered for my intentions and the needs of the Church throughout the world since my election as Bishop of Rome.

On this occasion I also wish to express my gratitude for the unfailing support which your Order has always given to the works of the Holy See…May prayer, witness to the faith and concern for our brothers and sisters in need always be the three pillars supporting your work both individually and corporately. In fidelity to the vision of the Venerable Father Michael McGivney, may you continue to seek new ways of being a leaven of the Gospel and a force for the spiritual renewal of society.”

Knights_of_Columus_logo

For the past twenty years, since I was nineteen years of age, I have been a member of the Knights of Columbus. It was my Dad who first joined the Knights, and then a few months later, I followed his example and joined. In the twenty years as a member, I have served in a variety of roles in variety of councils.

In my junior year of college, I served as the Grand Knight and Membership Director at the University of San Francisco College Council. Although I enjoyed that year very much, my greatest joy was when I was a part of the founding of the Columbian Squires Circle #5000 at Saint Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix, Arizona.

It was a Squire Circle that was very active and assisted with events for the high school, diocese, and the local community. Currently, there are two young men studying in seminary for the Diocese of Phoenix that were members of Circle #5000.

It’s something I will always be very proud of as member in the Knights of Columbus since it led me to become a 4th degree member, the visible arm of the Knights of Columbus.

4th degree kofc

If you are a Catholic male over the age of 18 (or know of one) and not in the Knights of Columbus, I hope the 5 reasons below will encourage you to join this great fraternal organization of the Catholic Church that is founded on the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism.

1. The Heartbeat of the Knights of the Columbus is Service. The Knights are one the largest charitable organizations in the world. Through a variety of fundraisers throughout the year, the Knights raise financial support for many charities, including the Special Olympics and the Global Wheelchair Mission. The service aspect of the Knights encompasses the Church, Community, Council, Family, Pro-Life, and Youth.

2. The Knights of Columbus Supports the Catholic Church because the order is composed of a fraternity of 1.8 million Catholic Men. From the founding of the Knights of Columbus by Venerable Michael J. McGivney, the Knights have been a foundation of support for the Catholic Church. In recent years, the Knights of Columbus have performed a variety of projects for the Universal Church as well as worked with Bishops of the particular churches here in the United States and in countries where the Knights currently reside.

3. The Knights of Columbus are Pro-Family. Since the traditional family is composed of the husband, wife, and children, the Knights see them as the core, foundation, and fabric for all of society. Although the council meetings are for the members, many councils sponsor activities with the family in mind. It’s a great time to gather together as Catholic Christians and members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Realizing that the youth are an integral part of society, the Knights seek to foster the development of the child from adolescence to adulthood.  Asking for the intercession of the Holy Family is at the center of prayer for the Knights when it comes to family life.

4. The Knights of Columbus are strongly and devoutly Pro-Life. Following the teachings of the Catholic Church, they believe that Life begins at conception and ends in natural death. While the Knights are in involved in a plethora of activities locally that foster the Pro-Life movement, they are also major supporters of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., the National Prayer for Life Campaign, the Ultrasound Initiative, and the Culture of Life Fund.

5. The Knights of Columbus are Faithful to the Catholic Church by being obedient to the teachings of the Church, its Bishops and Priests, and showing fidelity to the See of Peter. As faithful Catholics, the Knights foster and develop Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life, and Holy Matrimony. Standing with the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus also fight for Religious Liberty, which is being threatened here in the United States, but across the globe still to this day.

For more information on the Knights of Columbus and the work we do, please check out the K of C website. If you have the social media sites of Facebook and Twitter, please “Like” or “Follow” the K of C presence there as well.

Update: If you are going to comment on the rituals that occur within the Knights of Columbus, your comment will not be posted. Just because it’s secretive does not make it wrong and contradictory to Church teaching.

Update #2: There are some comments that are just uncharitable. From this point forward, they will not be approved. Thank you. 

Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney…Pray For Us!

Michael_J_McGivney

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI essentially said, “Are You Talking To Me?”

If you haven’t heard yet, it was reported yesterday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote an 11-page letter in response to the Italian mathematician and atheist, Piergorgio Odifredd, who wrote a book refuting one of Benedict’s earlier texts, Introduction to Christianity. The letter has not been translated into English except for a few excerpts.

Are you talking to me - De NiroTo say it bluntly, Pope Benedict took him task, and like Robert De Niro in the film, Taxi Drive, said, “Are You Talking To Me?” Now he didn’t slip a gun under his cassock, but he brought the scholastic intellectual prowess we all know and love to the forefront of his response. Benedict did not mix words nor did he back down from the criticism this gentleman wrote about him. He knows how to dialogue, even with those who stand completely at odds with him.

The pope emeritus said, “Dear professor, my criticism of your book is in part harsh. Frankness, however, is part of dialogue: Only in this way can understanding grow. You were quite frank, and so you will accept that I should also be so.”

For more information on his response check out, the National Catholic Register, Jimmy Akin’s post at the National Catholic Register, and the article at Vatican Insider.

It’s my hope that you realize and many people don’t, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is one of the greatest theological minds the Catholic Church and world has seen in the last 500 years. Yes, you read that correctly…500 years! There have been some serious theological giants during this timeframe too.

Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience

The sad reality is that most people, even most Catholics, will never see this completely until he enters eternal glory. Let me tell you something – I have read quite a bit of his texts. Simply, they’re fantastic! The intellectual and scholastic brain that sits in his head covered with that angelic white hair is quite astonishing. It would take me five life times to know what he knows now, and even then, I would not have it all. Seeing his response yesterday got me fired up! Not only am I fired up to be Catholic, but also I am fired up to see that he wrote again.

If you have never read anything by the Pope Emeritus, I would encourage you to visit Ignatius Press to purchase one of his texts. Start off with something simple and work your up. I would suggest his books, The Apostles or The Church Fathers. They were written as Wednesday Audiences for the masses. I would also suggest reading some of my blog posts on him as well.

We are blessed at this time in the Church to have two Popes defending our faith against non-believers. What a time to be alive and a time to be Catholic! Keep Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in your daily prayers. Pray that the Holy Spirit will give them strength, that the Blessed Mother will stand beside them, leading them closer to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Characteristics of a Papist

Papal Flag

Anyone who really knows who I am will tell you one thing about me – I love being Catholic! Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, the Holy Scriptures, the Doctrines & Dogmas of the Church, the Sacredness of the Holy Mass, Adoration & Benediction, the Traditions, the Saints, the Relics, the Sacraments, Gregorian Chant, the Byzantine Rite, breathing with both lungs of the Church (East and West), the Papacy, and the 266 Popes that define Apostolic Succession from Saint Peter to Pope Francis.

Boom! I love it all and more. I love it so much that I went to Franciscan University of Steubenville and worked on a Masters in Theology. Catholicism defines who I am as a person. Some people wear their school alma mater on their sleeve; I wear the Catholic Church!

When I first started teaching here in Phoenix about 9 years ago, I was setting up my classroom with many images of the saints, statues, and theological posters, but the one thing that I had to have was a Papal Flag. As I pinned it to the wall in my classroom, one of my colleagues came in my room, looked at the Papal Flag, shrugged his shoulders in a bit of disgust, and then proceeded to ask me – “Are you a Papist?” With a straight face, I replied, “Damn right!” As I reflect on my answer now, was it filled with a little bit of Pride, yes, but you didn’t see his face that day (he didn’t like my picture of St. Francis of Assisi in ecastasy either). You would have thought I pinned up a Nazi flag. The picture below is what the classroom wall with the Papal Flag evolved into after multiple years in the classroom.

IMG_3230

So what makes one a Papist or what are the characteristics of a Papist? What I came up with is by no means an infallible list, although Papists have a love for Papal Infallibility. Here are my five characteristics of a Papist (rated from 5 to 1.) -

5. A Papist stays awake throughout the night to watch Papal Masses (I did this today), watches Beatifications and Canonizations of previous Popes, and even travels to Rome on occasion for such events if financially possible.

4. A Papist is Obedient & Faithful to the Magisterium and Her teachings.

3. A Papist loves the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church given to us by Jesus Christ himself and founded upon the ROCK, Saint Peter.

2. A Papist Defends the Pope from attacks in and outside of the Catholic Church (nowadays through Social Media but the old avenues as well)

1. A Papist is Proud to be a Catholic and is willing to be mocked and ridiculed for the Pope and the Catholic Church.

The 266th Papacy of the Catholic Church begins! Are you ready for it? Are you ready for the renewal that Francis could bring to the Church? I know I am, because being obedient to the Pope not only makes one a Papist, but it is what all Catholics are called to do.

God’s will be done.

Viva il Papa Francesco!

GET YOUR PAPAL MASS PARTY ON!!

HABEMUS PAPAM!! 

Pope Francis

The New Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Pontifex Maximus, the Holy Father, His Holiness is Jorge Mario Bergoglio and he will Pope Francis.

What a joy this day is in the life of the Catholic Church and throughout the world. If you have been like me, it’s been an exciting period over the past weeks waiting for the conclave to begin and watching it unfold to this great proclamation. I spent countless hours in front of my computer online, slept with my phone ringer on high, and was checking my phone for updates every 5 minutes. It’s just so exciting being a Catholic these days since the whole world has its eyes on the Catholic Church. I can remember to this day where I was when Benedict XVI was elevated to the papacy. I will remember where I was today as well.

I would encourage you to continue to use the resources I spoke about in the post – Get Your Conclave On! Many of these media outlets will provide coverage in the days ahead.

We have a New Papa! His name is Pope Francis and now we give Praise and Thanksgiving to Our Lord Jesus Christ for providing us such a worthy man to be the successor St. Peter and Benedict XVI. Come Holy Spirit!

GO TO DAILY MASS, PRAY THE ROSARY, LIGHT A CANDLE FOR THE NEW POPE, 

GATHER YOUR CATHOLIC FRIENDS FOR THE SOLEMN MASS OF INAUGURATION,

AND GET YOUR PAPAL MASS PARTY ON!!! 

Bl. John Paul II Beatification Party(Author of this blog – Bl. JP 2 Beatification Party, May 1, 2011)

Get Your Conclave On!

Papal Conclave

Open this link in another window and play the music as you read this blog post.It will put you in the right frame of mind.

Depending on your geographical location in the world, the Cardinals of the Catholic Church will gather today in the Conclave to begin the process of choosing the successor of St. Peter and Pope Benedict XVI. If you are not aware of all the news and events surrounding the Conclave, get out under the rock where you have been hiding, and get to a computer and check out all the exciting information that is to be had on the Conclave and the election of the new Pope.

One thing is for sure tonight; the WHOLE WORLD is waiting for the words – Habemus Papam to be shouted from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. The whole world is focused on the Catholic Church!

Pope Benedict XVI (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – April 19, 2005)

There are many news media and social media outlets that will present the news on the new Pope, but here are a few that I will use during the Conclave -

First, one of my favorites and something that is so creative – PopeAlarm.Com – it was created by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (the Aussie Catholics also have one too now).

Second, a great source of Catholic News all the time is Catholic Vote and they have also developed the site – NamethePope.com.

The one guy everybody MUST follow is Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia. He is the “Father of Catholic Bloggers” and must either be a secret agent or he actually converses (like Stephen from Braveheart) with the Almighty on a daily basis. He knows everything before it happens! When that white smoke is in the chimney about to come out the top – check Rocco’s blog!

Fourth, a friend and priest for the Diocese of Phoenix (Parochial Vicar of the Arizona State University Newman Center), Fr. John Muir is tweeting from his handle – @Fr_JMuir and posting from his blog – undoingthefall.blogspot.com.

Next, I will focus my attention on Fr. Robert Barron and his website and video updates on Word on Fire. Fr. Barron will be appearing on the NBC news outlets and bringing much needed objective and correct teachings on the Conclave and the Catholic Church in general. Pray for him!

Fifth, another great site for videos and updates is Rome Reports. They provide quick updates with good news.

And last, Conclave…there’s an App for that! You can download the Conclave App for your either a Droid or IPhone. Receive Live Video, News, Twitter feeds, Bios on the Cardinals, Resources, and just learn more. “Conclave” is brought to you by Verbum – Logos Bible Software (there is an app for that too!).

So now that I have given you my Conclave resources, let’s get this divine providence on the road. Remember to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY TO OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST and…

GATHER YOUR CATHOLIC FRIENDS,

GO TO DAILY MASS,

PRAY THE ROSARY,

LIGHT A CANDLE AND PRAY FOR THE CARDINALS IN ROME,

AND GET YOUR CONCLAVE ON!!! 

Mission from God for Papal Conclave

(Author of this blog – JP 2 Generation)

Saying Good-Bye to a Pope

It’s been on my mind to write a farewell post since the day Pope Benedict XVI dropped what we now know to be the ecclesiastical announcement of the past 600 years. I can tell you exactly the place and time when I learned of Blessed John Paul II’s entrance into glory, and years from now, I will be able to recollect how I awoke out of sleep to read about Benedict’s resignation on my Smartphone. When Cardinal Josef Ratzinger was elected to the Chair of St. Peter, it was an ecstatic day for many of my friends and I who knew of his work in the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith.

We hoped for another long papacy, but knew deep in our hearts that might not be the case. Even the words of Pope Benedict XVI should ring out to us, as he said only days after his election – he would be a transitional Pope. Are we that surprised now thinking back at his words from nearly 8 years ago? Honestly, I was surprised, but others who knew the man better than I maybe could see it coming.

Is it a sad day in the Church? Yes – most definitely. Is it a day of hope as well? Yes – most definitely. As Catholic Christians (yes, we are Christians!), we must keep in mind that the Church has seen her fair shake of ups and downs, scandals, and assaults throughout the centuries. What we must remember is that we are still here, we are still strong, and we are not going anywhere. We have at the center, the source and summit of our Christian faith – Jesus Christ in his body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Benedict’s stepping down is yet another notch of history in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. From the small Christian community in Jerusalem on Pentecost Sunday, we now have millions of Catholics around the globe in hundreds of countries (just attend a World Youth Day – and that is just the youth of the Church).

The Catholic Church is built upon Peter! Christ promised us that the gates of hell would never prevail against it. The gates of hell have tried, and may try in the future, but mark the words of Our Lord – the Church will always stand firm in the face of evil. Anti-Catholics, which includes fall away Catholics, uncatechized Catholics, general haters of anything religious, atheists, moral relativists, and others throw stones, little pebbles, at the Church. What they lack to see is that we just don’t have a rock, but we have THE ROCK, and Jesus Christ himself set that ROCK in place. In the weeks ahead, another Pope will be elected to the Papacy, and he will be yet another Rock in a long line of Rocks that have extended the centuries (Read Mt 16:13-20).

Holy Father – it’s never easy saying good-bye. But before you leave us, we thank you for your years of service to the Catholic Church as a Priest, Bishop, Cardinal, and Pope. Your words have inspired countless Catholics to deepen their faith during your Pontificate, especially during this Year of Faith. The documents you gave to the universal Church will be read and cherished. Just as your predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, inspired young men to give up their lives for Christ, your countless efforts to increase vocations to the priesthood, and bring a new breed of priests to the Church will not go unnoticed. The magnitude of scholastic work in the area of Scriptural exegesis will not be matched for centuries to come. Your love for the Holy Liturgy has inspired us to bring back sacredness and reverence to the Mass that was misguided in many places throughout the world. Under your Pontificate, we have experienced in the English translation, a renewal of the words professed in the Holy Mass.

Personally, I would like to thank you for the Synod on the Sacred Scriptures, which produced your Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini. As one who has studied the scriptures, it’s a great document that gives us hope in the Sacred Scriptures and the tools to teach it to Catholics in today’s Church. Picking up where Dei Verbum left off was a stroke of genius. You are the Biblical Titan of the modern age!

I would also like to thank you for your recent Synod on the New Evangelization. Although the document for this gathering of Bishops has been put on hold for the time being, the propositions developed by you and Bishops will surely be implemented into the Church soon. You took Blessed John Paul II’s battle cry and developed it into a battle plan for the Catholic Church to win souls. When the souls return, we will have you to thank for it.

As you enter your life of prayer and study, we ask you to pray for us. We know full well that you are in communion with the Holy Trinity. See that the Church is led in the right direction, and that she, yet strong, become even stronger in the years ahead.

We thank you, we love you, and we will miss you. Good-Bye…

We Are Living in Epic Times

There is no doubt…We are living in Epic Times!

I awoke this morning after twisting and turning for some of the night to the sad news that Pope Benedict XVI has resigned as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. Honestly, I am in shock, but very hopeful that this is part of God’s Divine Plan. One thing I know for sure, the Catholic Church does not deal in decades, but in centuries and millennia. Just as the Church is being persecuted here in America more so than ever before, so we have seen a Pope resign 600 years ago. We will endure this sad news with the help of the Holy Spirit.

It is now a time for devoted prayer, fasting, and trust. We as the Church must come together and pray for the obvious health of our current Vicar of Christ, but also pray that the Holy Spirit guides and directs the Cardinals of the Church (in a conclave) to choose a worthy successor to the Pope, who has shown the humility that Christ professes we must hold in the Gospels. What humility by such an amazing man, priest, Bishop, and Pope.

Beware of the haters of the Church for they will be out in full force. Satan will gather his army and so we must be prepared to defend, with our very soul, the hate mongers that he entrusts to attack the Church in this world. It’s already occurring on Twitter and Facebook. The left-wing state-run media here in the USA is trying to figure out by “electronic” numbering whom the next Pope will be. This is all garbage and completely bunk by individuals who don’t have the slightest idea what they are dealing with when it comes to the power of the Holy Spirit. They lack knowledge and their pride will have them looking like fools in the end.

And yes, even from within the Church we will see hate, anger, and despair coming forth too. Organizations who claim to be catholic but are the furthest thing from true Catholicism will also attack the Church they claim to love. We must stay on guard and pray! Don’t be fooled by the deception and lies that will come from such sources. They are a danger to our world everyday, but when news like this happens; they will come out even more so seeking to destroy the Church.

Again…Pray, Fast, and ask for the Holy Spirit to intercede for the Church. Stay on Guard and be ready to defend Holy Mother Church. There is no doubt that we are living in epic times. We must now rise up and live as epic heroes and follow the example of the holy Saints who are the heroes of the Church. We must be yearn to be St. Joan of Arc, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas More, the Martyrs of Mexico, St. Edith Stein, and so many more.

I would like to thank Papa Benedict for his years of humble service as our Pontiff. What he has given to the Catholic Church in these short 8 years on the Scriptures and Liturgy will be cherished for many years to come. He is a great and humble man and a true example of discipleship. My prayers are with him today and in the days ahead. May Our Lord and his Blessed Mother guide him at this time.

“BE NOT AFRAID!”

WE ARE CATHOLIC!

This week at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale, Arizona, we had a very entertaining and faithful Catholic lead our Advent Parish Mission – his name is Michael Cumbie. Please take the time to read more about Michael at his website – Michael Cumbie and Micah Project. Michael is a former Southern Baptist preacher who was anti-Catholic, was afraid to walk into a Catholic Church, and thought that the statues that were in Catholic churches were people who were not Catholic who walked into churches and never escaped. Ha ha ha! That made me laugh more than once.

One of the days Michael was here, I was able to have lunch with him and our pastor. We talked about a variety of things, but he mentioned to me Catholics Come Home. The video below is the Catholics Come Home video from 2008. If you have not seen it, watch it and share it with your friends who are not Catholic and your friends and family who have left the Church. It is a good and short video. Some of it was filmed right here in Phoenix, Arizona with Diocese of Phoenix priests.

During this dark time in US History for Catholics and in a post-Christian country and world, let us take note that the Catholic Church has faced many challenges before and is still going strong. Yes, we have had scandals and bad decisions have been made, but the Church will never die. It can’t die because Jesus Christ is the head and He has been resurrected and is alive. Take heart my fellow Catholics here in the USA and around the globe, we are in a time where being Catholic is frowned upon, but I tell you this – we are not going anywhere because Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and All the Angels and Saints are behind us as we the Church militant fight here on Earth. The more they persecute us, the more they hate us, the more they speak against us…the STRONGER we become because we have 2000 years of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium behind us…WE ARE CATHOLIC!

To Prepare or Not to Prepare – That is the Question

We have finally entered the Season of Advent. After weeks and months of Ordinary time, the Church now prepares with great hope and anticipation for the coming of Jesus Christ. It’s the beginning of the new liturgical year (since 900’s AD) and it starts off with a great celebration in a four weeks, but before Jesus can come to us, we must prepare our hearts and our “homes” for him properly.

In so many parts of world, Christmas is already occurring (in some places people have been on the Christmas bandwagon since early October). However, this is a disservice to our relationship with Christ during this time of preparation known as Advent. Before we can properly receive Our Lord at His Birth, we must prepare for His arrival in a timely manner and with the Church in mind. As Catholics, we must be counter-cultural. The Catholic Church stands against the cultural just as Our Lord was counter-cultural during his three years preparing for the Cross. Many of our viewpoints, especially the social and moral viewpoints, are in complete contradiction to the post-Christian secular atheistic system that seems to be alive today. Preparing during this time is an act of being counter-cultural.

Advent WreathDuring the next FOUR weeks, let us take the TIME to prepare properly for Our Lord’s coming and not get caught up in the secular idea of Christmas. Secular Christmas is about making money, not about Jesus Christ. I understand that many people do have to “prepare” for Christmas to some extent if they have families and small children, but don’t get carried away and always remember that Advent helps us to have a more complete Christmas experience.

After December 25, we get to sing Christmas songs for 12 days during the Christmas season. I have always found it ironic that most radio stations play Christmas tunes from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. On December 26, the songs are gone and they are back to their regular genre. However, the Christmas season has just begun! We don’t celebrate the spring season till March 21 (dates vary from year to year, date reflects Northern Hemisphere) and then move into the summer season. March 21 is the START of the spring season and it goes till summer begins. Why do we “celebrate” Christmas till December 25 and then move out of the season?? December 25 is the BEGINNING of the Christmas Season – not the END!

As Catholics, it is our duty to be obedient to the Church and her traditions. We must learn to follow the liturgical year properly. The Church has been doing such things for 2000 years – I think she has it figured out by now, even if the secular society suggests otherwise.

Here is a great video from Busted Halo on Advent to share with your family and friends -

 To Prepare or Not to Prepare – That is the Question. Below are some helpful ways to prepare for Advent

Spiritual Resolutions for the New Liturgical Year

Practice your Faith by…

  1. Praying more during the next four weeks
  2. Reciting simple prayer – morning and evening prayer [use Magnificat or Liturgy of the Hours]
  3. Attending daily mass at your parish
  4. Listening to great sacred musicAdvent at Ephesus by Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles
  5. Praying the Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  6. Spending time before and after Sunday Mass in prayer
  7. Visiting Jesus in Adoration once a week during the next four weeks
  8. Participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you have not been to Confession in some time…then get there!
  9. Reading the Holy Scriptures and Catechism of the Catholic Church
  10. Reading Spiritual books – the Pope’s new book on the Infancy Narratives is a good read during Advent.
  11. Reconciling with people in your life that have either hurt you or you hurt them.
  12. Attending an Advent Parish Mission at your parish or parish nearby.