Advent is Waiting

This phrase makes me think of the animated movie Atlantis. In order to convince Milo, the scrawny bookworm to take the plunge and go on an expedition to discover the lost city, the financial backer Preston Whitmore says to him, “Atlantis is waiting.” This phrase always gets me, the excitement and anticipation. I wish someone would come around to each of us before a big decision and whisper with that same enthusiasm, “_____ is waiting.”

Friends, Advent is waiting. It’s only a few days away. Are you ready? Am I ready? It’s too bad we don’t have a Preston Whitmore who organizes our whole life ahead of our decisions so that the answer is obvious. What we can do, however, is take these opportunities the Church regularly builds into the liturgical year. Advent is the perfect time to step back, slow down and build momentum in our spiritual life.

This year’s Advent Journals are officially here! There are two different journals, both in pdf format. One narrows your focus to the 4 Sundays of Advent. Each day of the week you read one of the readings, and at the end of the week there are a few reflections. On Fridays, I’ve offered a few key themes and images found in the readings and expanded on their importance. On Saturday, inspired by the overall themes of the Sunday, there is a reflection on one of the aspects of Jesus. The Homily Notes space from last year is still there and can be used for additional note taking. Also, and this is so exciting, I figured out the booklet printing issue from last year so there are 2 versions of this journal, one in Booklet Format and one that is A5 size. If you print the A5 size at home you will need to cut the pages down after printing. If you choose the booklet be sure you select “booklet” or “book fold” in your printer’s settings.

Keep in mind that this journal is preparing for the upcoming Sunday of Advent, so it starts this coming Monday Nov. 25!

The second journal is a repeat from last year. I love using Lectio Divina for Advent. I’ve updated the dates and Scripture verses but the rest of the journal is much the same from last year. The last page is still blank if you would rather select your own Scripture verses. I did not do a booklet format for this journal because of all the writing space so there is only one version of the Lectio journal.

Remember, these journals are totally FREE for you to print, so you can grab both and see which works best for you. Or maybe you will find both inspirational. I’d love to hear which you chose and why. Feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone. It is my Advent gift to all of you.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

Crunchy Christians, Crunchy Christ [Special Post]

Dear Readers,

I was greatly inspired this weekend by the pastor at our church. Each week, he writes a “From the Pastor” for the bulletin. What follows is his message which I found to be bold, moving and above all, so true. I hope you do as well. We are so blessed to have Fr. Jeff as our shepherd!

**************************

Crunchy Christians, Crunchy Christ. Pastor's Reflections on Daily Graces Blog - kktaliaferro.wordpress.com
Coffee Granola by Migle via Flickr (2013), CC

Catholicism has to be the earthiest of Christian Churches. We keep our eyes on heaven, but there’s mud between our toes. We make water holy, then we sprinkle it over cats and dogs, gymnasiums and geraniums, cars, farms and football teams. We bless incense and then we waft its smoke over crowds and altars, above bread and wine, before crucifixes and religious practices. We pour oil upon heads and hands, spread it over brows, necks and other body parts. Bishops even spread it over altars. We bless palm leaves on Palm Sunday, and later make ashes of the for Ash Wednesday – then we smear them across our foreheads! We wear scapulars, carry rosaries, grasp medallions, touch icons and statues, dip hands in water, mark houses with chalk, add holy salt to holy water. We pour water into wine, burn charcoal with frankincense, bake bread with no yeast, make fires to light candles to dip into baptismal fonts. Then we deny ourselves food, sleep, chocolate and wine, money and whatever else – not because they are bad but because they are so good. We protect fetuses, parent orphans, feed the starving and pray with the feeble minded; we find life in the dying and we bless the dead.

Even our bodies are earthly instruments of worship. We kneel, we bow, we genuflected, we prostrate halfway or fully; we cross ourselves, then we cross our foreheads, lips and hearts. Priest bow their heads at the Holy Name, they raise their hands in prayer; they hold their hands over unconsecrated bread and wine, then they point towards the same bread and wine as it’s being consecrated by the Lord.

Most other Churches worship God in a more sanitary, ‘soulish’ manner. They commune using pasteurized grape juice with individual, disposable cups, while hundreds share the same cup at our Mass. While their souls attempt to leave their bodies behind in worship, we Crunchy Catholics drag our bodies kicking and screaming into the holy presence of God. They seek the Spirit of God in the Bible, and we find in those same words the Body and Blood of Christ dripping from every page of Holy Writ.

Catholicism is so crunchy! It snaps, crackles and pops with the products of harvest and rain and metal. What do we hope to accomplish with such a crunchy approach to God? After all, Jesus said, ‘Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4.24). Does’t all this ‘touch and taste and smell and hear’ stuff distract us from the God-Who-Is-Spirit?

Such would be the case, but for one important historical reality: Christ himself became crunchy. Before the Incarnation, Jesus was God-Who-Is-Spirit. Then he entered our crunchy, squishy, earthy world. He said ‘I will be crunchy, too.’ By his Incarnation, Jesus made it clear that we will find heaven on earth. Our Crunchy Christ suffered the indignities of being jostled in a crowd, he felt the sweat upon his brow, he smelled wheat roasting naturally on the stalk in the hot summer fields in Palestine. He sanctified all water by his baptism, consecrated bread and wine in his Last Supper. He shed hot and holy tears upon rocky earth; His bleeding body smeared divine blood over the wood of the Cross – the same blood that fell upon his Roman executioners. Finally, wonderfully, he rose from the grave, making his crunchy body eternally¬†spirit – never to die again.

If you wish to find Christ, you can’t leave your body behind. Remain crunchy. Your salvation is a lifelong journey of taking crunchy footsteps whereby God takes your daily experiences and makes them holy and ‘spirit.’ Join the fun – give yourself to God this year and see what crunchy adventures God has in store for you!

**************************

How rockin’ is my priest?!?! I hope you are uplifted by Fr. Jeff’s message and you have a renewed, super crunchy day.

Reposted with permission