Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.

Please prayer for Betty McGuire, a beautiful soul, who passed away earlier this week.  Betty loved her husband very much and when he passed away earlier this year, you could see that her heart was torn and missed him deeply.  Please prayer for the repose of her soul (and her husband Bill’s).  Through the mercy of God, may she rest in peace.

Does anyone know the significance of the today’s opening statement?  It is the last line of the last Gospel in this liturgical year.  Tomorrow (tonight at the vigil Mass) we start anew with the Advent Season.  One more question, can you guess what cycle we will be starting tomorrow?  I give you a clue…A, B or C.  Today’s readings are absolutely beautiful and deserve some time in your schedule today.

Today, being the last day of prep before the Advent season goes into bloom, we have to talk about the biggest sign/tradition of the Advent season – The Feast of St. Nicholas on December 6.  How many of you still practice the tradition of setting a shoe out before the front door on the night of December 5th and having it filled with little goodies the next morning? We still do as a family.  But I am only kidding about this being the most recognized tradition of Advent; I am obviously referring to the Advent Wreath.

Ah, the Advent Wreath.  Growing up, our Advent wreath adorned the center of our kitchen table (because our kitchen was our dining room) and we got to take turns each night being the one honored to light the candle.  Weeks 1, 2 & 4 are purple candles, week 3 is pink.  So what is the point of this wreath sitting in the middle of the table?  What is the meaning behind the Advent Wreath?  I found this article on line that does a wonderful job of explaining this tradition.

So, are you prepared?  Have you carved out your 5 minutes of prayer each day?  Will you take time to reflect on what you did and didn’t accomplish each day?  Are you prepared to celebrate and honor our commitment to “keep holy the Sabbath” this Advent season?  Can I offer one more suggestion?  Thank you.  If you are in the St. Louis area on Wednesday December 19th, stop by St. Mary Magdalen in Brentwood.  They have a Mass that will be celebrated at 5:30 PM and then the Church will be left open from 6 – 9 PM for a night of reflection and reconciliation.  It has become a beautiful way to end the Advent season in our parish.  They will have a number of priests in the church for the 3 hours hearing confessions, but many people like to come into the church and just sit and relax for a bit.  My wife and I quietly play inspirational “church” music in the background and again, it is a beautiful night of private prayer and reflection.

Do something great for the Lord today – put some foot spray in your shoe before you set it out on the 5th.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

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