Jesus is Born!

In preparing for Christmas in Italy, a family will assemble an intricate, detailed Nativity Scene called a presepe.  This custom was started by our beloved St. Francis of Assisi on Christmas Eve in 1223.  The presepe goes beyond a mere stable to include a landscape of the village and hillsides.  In addition to Mary, Joseph, assorted shepherds and wise kings who have often arrived too early, are villagers going about their daily chores.  The ordinary life of ordinary people is depicted.  What is not immediately part of the display is the Christ child.  In true Catholic tradition, the baby Jesus does not arrive until his appointed time at Christmas.

One tradition is to hide the babe somewhere in the village.  Viewers are tasked with trying to find him, a subtle reminder that Jesus can be anywhere, even in the mundane and prosaic.  The presepe is also a remembrance that our Lord was born without pomp.  The greatest thing to happen to the human race occurred quietly one night. The next day, all but a handful of people went about their daily life with no change.  Men and women labored.  Children played.  No one knew that the Son of God was in their midst and the world was going to change.

The Son of God is still in our midst.  Men and women still labor. Children still play. Now we celebrate each year.  As we search the presepe for the Christ child we also slow down and search the world for him.  He is present in the people we encounter and the tasks we complete.  Like a snowfall, Jesus brings beauty and unexpected joy.  He softens the harshness of our lives.  He connects us to others.  Everything is the same but so much better.  He comes during the darkest time of the year and brings us hope and light.

If we still our minds and hearts, if we step back from the hustle, if we just pause and breathe, we will find him quietly beckoning to us, inviting us in.

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Merridith Frediani loves words and is delighted by good sentences. She also loves Lake Michigan, dahlias, the first sip of hot coffee in the morning, millennials, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. She writes for Catholic Mom,, and her local Catholic Herald. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Adoration is available at Our Sunday Visitor and Amazon. You can learn more at

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Walking With Zechariah Through His Personal Advent

We are two days away from Christmas. Are you getting antsy for the arrival of Jesus, for visits with family and opening presents? I am, but I’m trying to slow down and savor this liturgical season. 

Today’s Gospel is a bit of a nudge to slow down. We’re reminded that John the Baptist came before Jesus and taught us to prepare the way of the Lord. It’s fitting then that we see the preparation of John’s father, Zechariah, in Luke’s Gospel today. 

As you may remember, Zechariah prayed for his wife, Elizabeth, to have a child. While he was in the temple, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him that Elizabeth would bear a son and that he would be called John (Lk 1:13). Zechariah, however, did not believe Gabriel or the promises that the angel relayed to him. Because of this disbelief, Gabriel silenced Zechariah (Lk 1:20).

In a way, Gabriel took Zechariah’s speech but gave him a personal Advent – a season of waiting and expectation. We receive the fruit of Zechariah’s advent today. Upon John’s birth, he is presented in the temple on the eighth day according to Jewish tradition. At that time, he was also named. 

When questioned about why Elizabeth intended to name their son John, Zechariah puts all questions to rest by an act of obedience. As the Angel Gabriel proclaimed that the child would be called John, Zechariah wrote, “His name is John” (Lk 1:63) on a tablet for all to see. 

With this act of obedience, Zechariah’s speech is restored and we receive the fruit of his quiet waiting – his offering of praise – “he spoke blessing God” (Lk 1:64). 

Has your Advent been a time of waiting and expectation? Have you been a little quiet this season? Spend some time with Zechariah today and consider how even in the bustle of Christmas preparations you might prepare your heart, mind, and lips to receive Jesus on Christmas so that we may all emerge from this quiet season speaking “blessing to God” (Lk 1:64).

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Elizabeth Tomlin is the author of Joyful Momentum: Building and Sustaining Vibrant Women’s Groups and contributing author to the Ave Prayer Book for Catholic Mothers. She is General Counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. Elizabeth is an Army wife and mother of three and currently lives in the DC area. She blogs at or @elizabethannetomlin on social media.

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People are often surprised to find out just how many translations of the Bible there are. It is hard to find a definitive count and the numbers found online vary. According to one source, the Wycliff Bible Translators (a Protestant ministry), the complete Bible is translated into over 700 languages. In English, a quick Google search will bring you to a minimum of 15 different English translations with more if you dig deep enough.

The translation that the U.S. Bishops have approved for use in worship is the New American Bible. This is a solid translation which is grounded in academic scholarship, research and historical context. If you look at today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke which highlights Mary’s Magnificat, you will be reading in English what is as close as biblical scholars could get to the words, phrases, and meaning of Mary’s prayer.

When I am studying a piece of Scripture I know well or have heard often, I like to spend some time with other translations in addition to our own. I have found that it can be worth looking at other translations to see what other scholars in different times and places understood the original words of Scripture to mean. There are some translations that focus primarily on a literal word-for-word translation.  Others look to convey a contextual or overall meaning of a passage. These worry less about word-for-word and instead look to use their modern language’s nuances and phrases to pass along the message.

For the Magnificat¸ I’d like to offer you a translation you may not be familiar with. It is called, The Message, and is translated by Eugene H. Patterson. There is a Protestant and a Catholic version. This is a reading Bible, as Patterson says. This is a unique translation. Patterson explains, “I became a ‘translator’, daily standing on the border between two worlds, getting the language of the Bible that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us, into the language of Today that we use to gossip and tell stories, give directions and do business, sing songs and talk to our children” (12).

The Message is the Bible in everyday speech. With this in mind, take a few moments to read Patterson’s rendition of the Magnificat. It is decidedly not what you will hear in Church, but it may evoke new images, emotions, or inspirations you had not considered before. This is not meant to replace your study of the Magnificat found within an approved translation. It is meant to enhance that study experience.

“And Mary said ‘I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened – I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others. His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now (Luke 1:46-54)

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at

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Ark of the New Covenant

St. Luke weaves together Old Testament typology with New Testament truth throughout his Gospel; this is breathtakingly evident today as we see Mary held up as the Ark of the New Covenant.

The original Ark was kept in the tabernacle God instructed Moses to build in the wilderness, and it held a golden jar of manna, Aaron’s rod, and the stone tablets of the Covenant. A mysterious cloud – now dark, now light – covered the tent and filled the tabernacle, revealing the presence of God Himself. Later, when David goes to retrieve the Ark (see 1 Sam 6), he has second thoughts when one of the attendants is struck dead, and he says, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” and leaves the ark in the hill country for three months. David also danced and leapt in front of the ark when he brought it into Jerusalem (2 Sam 6).

See the parallels with today’s Gospel? Luke is clearly leading us in a direction!

  •         Both the ark and Mary are “overshadowed” by the Spirit of God. The same Greek word (episkiasei) is used for the overshadowing at the Annunciation and the cloud at the Transfiguration of Jesus, and is associated with the shekinah glory of God in Exodus.
  •         Both the ark and Mary traveled to the hill country of Judea.
  •         Both the ark and Mary remained there for three months.
  •         Both the ark and Mary eventually arrive in Jerusalem.
  •         Dressed as a priest, David dances and leaps before the ark; John the Baptist (of priestly lineage) leaps in his mother’s womb at the approach of Mary.
  •         There is joyful shouting as the ark is carried to Jerusalem; Elizabeth exclaims with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
  •         David asks, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” Elizabeth asks, “How can the mother of my Lord come to me?”

From ancient times, the Church has taught these beautiful parallels revealing God’s Plan for the world, drawing additional reflections from the CONTENTS of the Ark and Mary:

  •         The ark held the word of God inscribed on stone tablets; Mary carries the Body of Jesus Christ, the word of God in flesh.
  •         The ark held manna, the miraculous bread from heaven; Mary carries Jesus, the true Bread from heaven.
  •         The ark held the rod of Aaron that budded to prove the true high priest; Mary carries Jesus, the actual and eternal High Priest!

As we prepare to welcome our Redeemer at Christmas, we can marvel at the long choreography of God, Who prepared His people and prepared the way for His Son to enter the world to save it through the Ark of the New Covenant, whose most profound identity is BELIEVER. “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Wishing you and all those you love a blessed Christmas and peaceful New Year.

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Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Father Rob), and four grandchildren. She is President of the local community of Secular Discalced Carmelites and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 30 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE, and as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio. Currently, she serves the Church by writing and speaking, and by collaborating with various parishes and to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is

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Mary’s Yes and My Yes

In five days we will be celebrating Christmas and even in these final days of Advent many are already attending Christmas parties and rejoicing with the “joy of the season.” Once again we’re celebrating the birth of Christ, the Light of the World, as we continue to walk through the darkness that has swirled around us for the past couple years. 

Today’s Gospel introduces the young girl who would mother the Son of God, the woman whose response to the angel Gabriel would bring to birth the eternal Joy that would wipe away our tears.

“Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).

In the midst of the darkness of the world she lived in, Mary believed in the promise of God that she was the Mother of his Son. Mary’s life returned to normal as the angel left her. How could she explain what the Holy Spirit had brought about in her? Who would understand? She didn’t celebrate the first Advent expectation for the birth of the Christ, she lived it in her flesh and in the solitude of faith. She walked through nine months toward the birth of her Son with an open heart, increasingly overwhelmed with wonder, gradually more aware that her walk of faith would be a path of suffering. 

Mary was the first to know the “joy of the season.” We learn from the narrative of the Annunciation, that it is in the midst of the daily routine of our own lives that we receive the most beautiful announcement we can hear: “Rejoice, the Lord is with you!” Our Christmas celebrations, though important, are but a flicker of joy compared with the story of God’s relentless love for us, the true cause of our joy.

Pope Francis said that “God continues to look for allies, he continues to seek men and women capable of believing, remembering and recognizing that they are part of his people and cooperating with the Holy Spirit.” He seeks for “hearts capable of listening to his invitation and making it become flesh here and now” (Pope Francis, March 25, 2017). 

The young girl Mary shows all of us the only response to this God that will bring the world joy: “May it be done to me as you say. I am saying YES to your whole plan. I give you myself, here, now, and forever. I give myself to your plan for the world through me.” God’s plans are far more beautiful than any plan we could create for ourselves. 

In his sermon on December 6, 2019, Father Raniera Cantalamessa wrote: “The contemplation of Mary’s faith urges us to renew, above all, our personal act of faith and abandonment to God. That is why it is so vitally important to say to God, once in life, let it be done, fiat, as Mary did. This is an act enveloped in mystery because it involves grace and freedom at the same time; it is a form of conception. The soul cannot do it alone; God helps, therefore, without taking away freedom.”

In these final days of Advent let the joy that fills your heart, be the amazing realization that the Lord is with you! Whatever may be your sorrows or distress this Christmas season let the Virgin of the Annunciation, the Mother of the Lord, assure you again and again, “Rejoice, my child, the Lord is with you!”

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Sr. Kathryn J. HermesKathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: Public Facebook Group: For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community:

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Blessed Are You Who Believed

And the course of salvation history changed with our Mother’s simple, Yes to God. With time holding no boundaries between her and her Son, Mary exemplifies Thy Will Be Done. A young peasant girl, who would hold in her the epitome of His Grace. 

The relationship between this most humble girl and her older cousin is such a powerful moment. Imagine these two women being so genuinely happy, both for each other and for the world. They put others before themselves at all times. Isn’t this what God has asked of us, to love and serve one another? 

But additionally, Mary places her trust in God at all times. Today, I encourage us all to especially reflect on the last line of our Sunday Gospel. 

Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.

How often do we doubt God’s magnificent ways? Is He not the LORD of hosts, the all-powerful Ruler over the entire universe? Through His ways, the unthinkable can be achieved. 

Let us follow the example of our most humble yet powerful Mother, who changed the world in her infinite love and belief.

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Dr. Alexis Dallara-Marsh is a board-certified neurologist who practices in Bergen County, NJ. She is a wife to her best friend, Akeem, and a mother of two little ones on Earth and two others in heaven above.

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Jesus, Sun of Justice

Today’s readings are full of hope and promise, as is fitting for the Third Week of Advent.  In the First Reading, the prophet Jeremiah promises a king who will “reign and govern wisely, [and] do what is just and right in the land.” The Responsorial Psalm repeats the message: “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.” Then comes the twist: the Gospel tells us how these promises were fulfilled, by the birth of a baby. 

The Israelites, we know, were expecting a worldly king, described as a “shoot to David,” and who would be like David: a mighty soldier who would defeat their enemies once and for all. Instead, God sent Jesus with his message of justice, yes, but not through violence and conquest: rather by forgiveness, love, and mercy. And instead of immediately establishing his just and righteous kingdom, Jesus accepted an unjust condemnation and death. Is it any wonder that his friends despaired at first and went into hiding? 

We all long for justice. Children are born with this innate desire—they are obsessed with fairness until their parents tell them enough times that the world is not fair.  Well, it is a fallen world so that is unfortunately true. But I have never said this to my own children. Instead, I say this: “The world is not fair but we have to try to be.” We must not fall prey to the temptation to think that there is no hope for any justice here on earth. While perfect justice may be only attainable in God’s Kingdom, we cannot just stand around, staring at the sky, waiting for Jesus to show up. We are called to do our best to bring about his justice here, acting as God’s hands on Earth.  Jesus showed us the way over and over, perhaps most notably when he said “Whatsoever you do to the least of these you do unto me.” We are not meant to sit passively by and wait for him. Rather, he calls us to be a people of action and to act on his example. 

Working for justice is demanding and difficult. People of good will in our society often disagree about what justice means and how to achieve it. But the Christian life is not supposed to be easy nor is it supposed to be all about ourselves and our comfort. So let today’s readings make us hopeful, but never complacent.  We can never achieve perfect justice on Earth, only a shadow of what it will look like in the Kingdom of God, but that does not free us from the responsibility of trying.

“But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd” (Malachi 4:2).

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Leslie Sholly is a Catholic, Southern wife and mother of five, living in her hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. She graduated from Georgetown University with an English major and Theology minor. She blogs at Life in Every Limb, where for 11 years she has covered all kinds of topics, more recently focusing on the intersection of faith, politics, and social justice.

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The Wisdom of God

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

I never knew my maternal grandfather; he died a year and a half before I was born. But I have learned the stories about him: how he lied about his age so he could join a brother in coming to America; how he drove an ambulance in France for the U.S. Army during World War I; how he, just like the usual Greek stereotype, owned a “greasy spoon” restaurant; how he was an older man when he married the feisty Sicilian woman who was my grandmother. It’s a little funny how, my whole life, I’ve been asked, “So, you’re Greek?” and I’ve always said, “Why, yes, on my mother’s side.”

Yes, people make assumptions (for example, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”), and seeing that my last name is a Greek word — which means “fruit,” by the way — they assume. And so I have to explain that I’m Polish on my father’s side, but I have no idea how a Polish family took a Greek word for their surname. I did know my grandfather on that side, perhaps the kindest and most generous man I’ve ever known. But he was also opinionated, opportunistic, and an alcoholic.

We can’t choose our ancestry, and yet it is very important in our lives because we are the culmination of it; it is the foundation of who we fundamentally are. Both Matthew and Luke use a genealogy of Jesus to show the importance of ancestry, especially how Jesus was the culmination of Old Testament prophecies and covenants, putting him in direct line with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and King David. No, we can’t choose our ancestors, but today’s Gospel shows that God can and does do that choosing. And for Jesus, as well as for us, that ancestry chosen by God contains both the faithful and the sinner. Judah, as the First Reading tells us, may have been destined for greatness, with kings as descendants; and he may have saved his brother Joseph from their other brothers’ wrath, but he also sold Joseph into slavery. Jesus is considered a descendant of David, but he’s also a descendant of Ahaz, the guy who wouldn’t listen to Isaiah about asking the Lord for a sign. And God, in his infinite wisdom, used them all to fulfill his plan. His promises to Abraham, to Jacob, to David, even to Ahaz, are fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.

I began this reflection with today’s “O antiphon,” the ancient exhortations the Church has used since the eighth century to accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says on its website, the antiphons are “a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well.” And today, when we say Come, O Wisdom, we know that that Wisdom is Jesus Christ, our very Lord and Savior. Christmas is just a week away: Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

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Mike Karpus is a regular guy. He grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, graduated from Michigan State University and works as an editor. He is married to a Catholic school principal, raised two daughters who became Catholic school teachers at points in their careers, and now relishes his two grandchildren, including the 3-year-old who teaches him what the colors of Father’s chasubles mean. He has served on a Catholic School board, a pastoral council and a parish stewardship committee. He currently is a lector at Mass, a Knight of Columbus, Adult Faith Formation Committee member and a board member of the local Habitat for Humanity organization. But mostly he’s a regular guy.

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Hope Restored

The First Reading has one of my favorite passages, seen time and time again throughout the Bible: “My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the LORD, who has mercy on you.” Isaiah 54:10

Other similar passages are:

Hebrews 13:5 – Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Joshua 1:5 – No one can withstand you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you.

Matthew 28:20 – And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. 

Today, we read this passage in the Advent season, as we are waiting. In such a time of waiting, it is easy to get lost. For example, while on hold with the insurance company, I started scrolling through social media on my phone, put away some laundry, and then started looking up other insurance companies. I also began to get discouraged, for I’ve been on hold before only to be hung up on and forced to start the process all over again. 

Similarly, while we wait for Jesus, or even just wait for God to reveal His plan for us, to us, we can get discouraged. We get lost and begin to do other things and seek other earthly comforts. 

So there I was, still on hold, when the lady came back on the line and let me know that they were still working on it and would have to put me back on hold again but ARE still working on it. Instantly, I was reassured and more hopeful. It was 10 seconds of encouragement, but it made me close the tabs for other insurance companies! 

I see those passages from Isaiah, Hebrews, and Deuteronomy as similar encouragement, especially since they are all used in different scenarios across the Bible, yet the message remains the same: God will never leave you. 

So today, as you are waiting for the birth of Jesus and especially as you wait for God to reveal more to you, do not be discouraged! Instead, remind yourself of all these times, throughout thousands of years, how people have had their hope restored by knowing that God would never leave them. In the same way, God will never abandon you, nor forsaken you, nor His covenant of peace be shaken. “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

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Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Pennsylvania. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various Catholic articles in bulletins, newspapers, e-newsletters, and blogs. She continued sharing her faith after graduation as a web content strategist and digital project manager. Today, she continues this mission in her current role as communications director and project manager for Pentecost Today USA, a Catholic Charismatic Renewal organization in Pittsburgh. 

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Share What You Have Seen

“Go and tell John what you have seen.”

In this Gospel Reading, Jesus reveals His true identity to the two followers of John the Baptist by saying, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard.” The wonderful signs, deeds, and miracles that Jesus had performed were enough to provide the proof that Jesus was the Savior and convince John’s followers to start to follow Jesus. 

This Advent season is a perfect time for us to slow down and increase our prayer time, read the Daily Scriptures, go to Mass and focus on new ways to come to know Christ. Jesus desires to reveal Himself to us in wondrous ways and plant seeds of peace in our hearts amid difficulties. 

We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and learn to appreciate His Ways. Jesus does not burden us but sets us free spiritually to love Him. Jesus desires nothing more than for us to follow Him and accept His gift of eternal life. 

One way to prepare our hearts this Advent for the Savior’s birth, is to focus on gratitude for the blessings that God has already given us. This opens the door for God to work even greater miracles in our lives. Imagine the amazement and gratitude John the Baptist’s disciples experienced when they witnessed the miracles performed by Jesus.

Jesus tells John the Baptist’s disciples to go and tell John what they have seen. In life, we too are called to share what we have seen regarding Christ working in our lives. When we share our testimony of Jesus Christ to others, it is a way to encourage others to experience the faith in a new way. Faith is spread by planting seeds through our conversations and interactions with others, just like John’s disciples describing what they had heard and seen Jesus do.

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Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  She is the co-founder of and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic

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Hope in Difficulties

Ten years ago today my Dad died. My Mom has been lost in the darkness without him as a guiding light after their amazing 50 year journey together as husband and wife. She has been forced to make changes in her life. It has not been an easy transition for her or my sisters, me, and our families.

St. John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes y Álvarez, was a contemplative Discalced Carmalite priest, monk and doctor of the Church. He felt a call to reform the Carmalite order and received approval from the Papal Nuncio in Spain to do just that. The changes did not go over well with many of his fellow monks. They imprisoned John for eight and a half months, placing him in a tiny cell with no window. The only light he had to pray his breviary came from the hole in the wall to the room next door.

During this time St. John wrote “The Dark Night of the Soul”. Here is a contemporary paraphrase from Fr. Richard Conlin of the necessity of dark night in spiritual life.

“Until a soul is placed by God in the passive purgation of that dark night… it cannot purify itself completely from these imperfections nor from the others.… No matter how much an individual does through his own efforts, he cannot actively purify himself enough to be disposed in the least degree for the divine union of the perfection of love. God must take over and purge him in that fire that is dark for him.” 

Jesus tells the parable of the son who went back and did the work he was supposed to do but first said no to his father. The son changed his mind. He did his work in the vineyard. He did what he was called to do by his father.

My father told his daughters to care for his wife and our mother. We wholeheartedly agreed to the task. My Mom however does not believe she needs any assistance at this stage in her life. She does not see a beloved mother who has become reclusive and remiss in necessary tasks and personal care. She pushes away inquiries or offers of help, as she is ‘just fine.’

Zephaniah reminds us to take refuge in the Lord. ‘You need not be ashamed of all your deeds…’ Correction or insight from another can point the way to enlightenment. Each person must acknowledge the correction and make a choice to do what is right in the eyes of God. Everyone has a dark time (or more) to work through, even chief priests, monks, moms, and especially me. We each must commit to do what the Father has called us to, our own individual specific tasks.

Father, help me through the darkness. Enlighten my mind to the tasks and changes that need to be made in my life to the hope found in Your love. Amen.

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She is a Secular Franciscan (OFS) and a practicing spiritual director. Beth shares smiles, prayers, laughter, a listening ear and her heart with all of creation. Reach her here

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God’s Light is Our Guide

It has been so fun doing “girly things” with the new baby. Family and friends love to give her cute outfits, bows for her hair and pink toys. One of her newest additions is a soft little dolly that she likes to hold and chew on. My coworker gave it to her and said, “Hmm, what should we call her? How about Lucy!” I thought that was a perfect name.

When I saw that today was the Feast of St. Lucy, it made me smile. Not only is the little dolly a light and a joy to my infant daughter, but St. Lucy is a light to us by her example as a Christian martyr. 

In today’s Psalm, we ask the Lord to be our light and our guide: “Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your kindness are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. 

A week or so ago we lost power at our house. It was already evening and quite dark. So we got out the flashlights and the boys had a blast playing flashlight tag in the basement. The next day they said they wished the power would go out again! All the while, I was worried about them freezing in their beds and the two weeks worth of groceries I had just bought going bad. 

My boys were not frightened by the darkness simply because they had light and could see the way. We cannot see the way without light. When we cannot see the way, we become frightened. The Lord is our light and He guides us in truth and goodness and love. 

May this halfway point in Advent find us continually searching for the brightness of God’s guidance. May we repeat with the Psalmist, “Teach me your ways, O Lord.”

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on and, runs her own blog at and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

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