A Blessed Second Sunday of Advent 2017

Image source: Archdiocese of Toronto

Beloved, I am getting this to you a day late, but did not want to not share with you a priest’s[1] homily from last Sunday – i.e., the First Sunday of Advent on this Second Sunday. To my mind, it contains our path–more, our marching orders, to prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts, that we may truly love, honor and serve Him in this life, and be happy with Him in the next.

God bless and keep you throughout this week and each day until the coming of the Divine Babe in the Manger, the very Lord of life.


Today is the first Sunday of the liturgical year, and the beginning of Advent, the period of preparation for the coming of Christ on Christmas night. It was a common opinion among the Jews, accepted also by many of the early Christians, that four thousand years had elapsed between the fall of Adam and the coming of the Redeemer, four thousand long years of expectation. It is for this reason, possibly, that the Church, when arranging the liturgical cycles, gave Advent four Sundays, four weeks, each week representing, more or less, a thousand of those years.

But what is more important, is the manner in which we spend these four short weeks, the use we make of them or fail to make of them, will be a determining factor in our own future and eternal history. The happiness or the unhappiness of our eternal destiny will depend on our attitude to Christ. “To as many as received Him He gave the power of becoming Sons of God” (John 1:12). If we receive Him worthily, if we welcome Him as our Lord and Redeemer at Christmas when He comes to us in the form of a lowly baby, we will be able to lift up our head and our hearts to welcome Him when we meet Him at the judgment seat.

Today’s Gospel (Luke 21:25-33) contains our Lord’s own description of the general judgment or the

Second Coming of Christ. This particular Gospel has been chosen to help us begin the season of Advent well. The thought that a day of reckoning lies ahead, a day in which we will have to face Christ in His “power and majesty,” a day in which our innermost faults will be made known, and our every unforgiven sin will stand in testimony against us – such a thought will help us to put our accounts straight now and get our books in order while there is still time.

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A Blessed First Sunday of Advent 2017

Image source: Archdiocese of Toronto

On the first day of Advent, Catholic families will set up Advent wreath — a wreath of greenery adorned by a set of four candles — typically, three violet-colored, and one rose-colored to match the priest’s vestments on each of the days the candles are lit. The wreath is either set upon a table (especially the dining room table), on the family altar, on pedestals, an end table, etc., or it can by suspended by ribbons from the ceiling, such as from a light fixture. The candles can be long, slim tapers, small votives, or wide pillars. There can be pinecones and such adorning the greenery, but because Advent is a penitential season, it should not be highly decorated with colorful ornaments.

The circular shape of the wreath is a symbol of eternity, and the greenery symbolizes hope and renewal. The colors of the typically-used violet and rose candles symbolize penance and joy, respectively.

Each candle also represents one of the four weeks of Advent, and one thousand years of the four thousand years that (at least metaphorically) passed between Adam and Eve to Christ’s coming.

The first candle also recalls the Patriarchs; the second candle recalls the Prophets; the third candle recalls St. John the Baptist; and the final candle recalls Our Lady.

If colored candles are used, the violet candles are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent, and the rose candle is lit on the third Sunday (“Gaudete Sunday,” when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass), a day of rejoicing because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent and anticipate Christmas. In any case, whether colored or white candles are used, one more candle is lit each week at dinnertime, the progressive lighting of the candles symbolizing the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead. The candles are kept burning throughout the Sunday supper, and then are immediately blown out afterward (candles can be replaced and greenery freshened as needed).

At midnight on Christmas Eve, the Advent wreath is replaced by a white “Christ candle” that is suitably adorned with holly, or by being carved with symbols of Christ, etc. This Christ Candle is used until the Ephiphany or Candlemas, depending on the family’s particular Christmas customs. The greenery of the Advent wreath can now be decorated and turned into a Christmas wreath for use throughout the Christmas season.

Below is a prayer for the blessing of the wreath and the lighting of the candle for the First Sunday of Advent. We’ll include additional Sunday prayers prior to each Sunday of Advent. We give thanks to the excellent website of Fish Eaters¬†ūüė䬆for this and a fathomless wealth of information on our Holy Catholic Faith:¬†https://www.fisheaters.com.¬†Please do spend time searching through their site. You will find only clear and utterly trustworthy teachings on the Faith including many customs for you and your family!

Advent Wreath Rituals

The Day Before Advent
Blessing of the Wreath

Father or Oldest Son: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

First Sunday of Advent
As Mother lights the 1st candle

Scripture (John 1:1-5; Psalm 49:2-5, 71:2-8, 8-15):
Father: In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life: and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Out of Sion the loveliness of his beauty. God shall come manifestly: our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. A fire shall burn before him: and a mighty tempest shall be round about him. He shall call heaven from above, and the earth, to judge his people. Gather ye together his saints to him: who set his covenant before sacrifices.

Give to the king thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s son thy justice: To judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment. Let the mountains receive peace for the people: and the hills justice. He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor: and he shall humble the oppressor. And he shall continue with the sun, and before the moon, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the fleece; and as showers falling gently upon the earth. In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken sway. And all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the needy that had no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor. He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquity: and their names shall be honourable in his sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.

Blessing:
Father: Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may deserve to be rescued by Thy protection, and to be saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.

R. Amen. 

Father: Alleluia, alleluia. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis. Amen. (Alleluia, alleluia. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy; and grant us Thy salvation. Alleluia.) 

Newsletter: Pre-Advent 2017

Beloved Family,

We have missed writing to you and, after numerous complaints have begun posting somewhat regular updates on our website. Alas, we are still in Tulsa and continuing to seek a new home. Although we have not been able to move forward with our apostolate to the family in Tulsa, we are at peace in Our Lord’s blessed will and growing in grace and in the sweet assurance of His perfect ways and providence.

Earlier this year, we listened to the outstanding messages from the 2017 fourth annual Rome Life Forum, whose theme, “The family under attack: protecting parents as primary educators,” is very dear to our hearts. The Forum, co-sponsored by Voice of the Family together with Associazione Famiglia Domani, Family Life International New Zealand, Human Life International, LifeSiteNews and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, was held May 18-19, and featured utterly outstanding men of the Church.

Continue Reading…¬†¬†(Download and open in Acrobat Reader to access the interactivity and use the fillable form fields)

Real Catholic family life is the road

out of apostasy

His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Beloved, as we continue to search for a new home outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, I want to tell you all that you have been very much on my heart – and that we, as a community, have been offering our daily Rosary for each and all of you, and especially for the restoration of the family.

In our update of June 22 below, I wrote of the Rome Life Forum, sponsored by Voice of the Family, which took place in May of this year under the theme, “The Family Under Attack: Protecting Parents as Primary Educators.” As much as I desired to urge every soul, especially every parent, either to watch the video presentations or to read the transcripts of the talks, I would guess that only a few of you were able to take the time to do so.

I just relistened to one most outstanding talk by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider who spoke on, The family: the¬†first encounter with the beauty of the Catholic faith.” Bishop Schneider is Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan. I cannot recommend this holy bishop and his message to you highly enough. I pray you will take the time to listen to His Excellency’s talk below.
                                                                                God bless you,
                                                                                Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.

 

 

 

Our Lady of Fatima is the Mother of the Messiah!

Beloved, I just today received the short video below from our dear friends at The Coming Home Network International and thought, in light of the 100th Anniversary of the Blessed Virgin’s appearance in Fatima, I would share it with you. Perhaps some of our non-Catholic Evangelical friends might begin to think about the Mother of God in a way that can open their hearts to experience the Son of the Mother, our Divine Redeemer, beyond what they have yet known.

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, OSB

(https://chnetwork.org/2017/10/06/insights-mary-mother-god/)

As a Jewish girl turned on-fire Evangelical, the thought of using a term like “Mother of God” in reference to Mary seemed blasphemous to Mother Miriam, who was then known as Rosalind Moss. ¬†However, pondering the words of Gabriel in Luke 1, she began to realize how similar they were to the language used to describe the Tabernacle in the Old Testament.

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God is the foundress of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope.

Read her full conversion story: From Jew to Evangelical to Catholic Nun

Feast of St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!”

He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael, which is the original version:

Original – Prayer to St. Michael

“O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.

“Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.¬†

“These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.¬†

“Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee. 

Let us pray.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.”¬†

(With gratitude, from Tradition in Action: http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/b009rpMichael.htm)

How are we to live as faithful Catholics in a world going astray?

Beloved,

I just now watched, for the first time, the interview of John-Henry Westen with Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the survival of the family.* Every word from Bishop Schneider’s mouth is from his heart – and from mine. I don’t know that we will ever hear a clearer, more focused, more faithful message on God’s design for the family and for every soul He brings into the world.

Here is the interview from Lifesite News from the Rome Life Forum of 2016. It is worth every second of your time.

From our Priory (yet in Tulsa!) to your homes, we send our love and keep you daily in our prayers,

Mother Miriam and Daughters

*12 steps to surviving as a Catholic family in a heretical wasteland

Bishop Athanasius Schneider

 

Confidence in the Mercy of God in the Face of our own Helplessness and Unworthiness

Beloved, as I think about the present state of our community in Tulsa – still without (knowledge of) a future home! – I want to tell you that, the more time passes, and with one mysterious “unhappening” after another, I, for one (and I can confidently say, the women with me) are growing more confident in our Lord’s leading and in His utter faithfulness to work all things together for good.

Faith is a gift. The more we trust God, through whatever trials, sufferings, and uncertainties He deems to send our way, the more our confidence in God (not in circumstances) is strengthened. In fact, we feel honored to be so tested in order that we may please His Heart by our trust and love.

Just today, I came across the excerpt below from the book, “The Art of Loving God,” written by our first and very beloved patron, St. Francis de Sales,[1] who, in time, led us to St. Benedict! I do hope you are encouraged and strengthened by the wonderful words of this unique and saintly Doctor of the Church! His excerpt follows . . .

You ask me if a soul sensible of its own misery can go with great confidence to God. I reply that not only can the soul that knows its misery have great confidence in God, but that unless it has such knowledge, the soul cannot have true confidence in Him; for it is this true knowledge and confession of our misery that brings us to God.

All of the great saints–Job, David, and the rest–began every prayer with the confession of their own misery and unworthiness. And so it is a very good thing to acknowledge ourselves to be poor, vile, abject, and unworthy to appear in the presence of God.

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Update from Mother Miriam . . .

Beloved,

This post and excerpt from the wonderful speech of¬†Chief Justice¬†John¬†Roberts at his son’s 9th grade commencement should be heard not only by your middle, high school and college-age graduates, it should, in my opinion, be heard by every child (and adult!) above the age of 10.

Our deep gratitude to The Loop from Catholic Vote for posting it, and to all who are fighting the good and necessary fight to restore the family and especially our youth for the future of the Church and the salvation of mankind.

Our love to each of you and prayers for our Lord’s continued guidance and blessing on your families,

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.

Update from Mother Miriam . . .

Beloved,

Greetings to you in this most holy month of the Precious Blood of Our Lord!

For those who are keeping up with our progress, just a note to let you know we will be heading out of town this coming week to explore a few possibilities for a future diocese and home. Please know that we are so very grateful for the prayers, calls and notes so many have sent to us. Our Blessed Lord will make His will known in His way and time – we would want it no other way.

Before we head out, I wanted to post this blessed treasure of our most holy Church – devotion to the Precious Blood of Our Lord, highlighted especially in this month of July. Here is a brief description of its history from Catholic Culture’s most excellent website, https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=760):

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Like the Sacred Wounds of Jesus, His Precious Blood deserves special honor because of its close relation to the Sacred Passion. That honor was given to it from the beginning by the Apostles who praised its redeeming power. (Rom. 5:9 “we are justified by His blood”; Heb. 13:12 “and so Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His blood, suffered outside the gate”; 1 John 1:7 “and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”)

In recent times the devotion has been encouraged by Blessed Gaspar Buffalo, founder of the Congregation of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. When Pope Pius IX was in exile from Rome in 1849, he had as his companion Don Giovanni Merlini, the third general of that Congregation. This saintly priest suggested to the pope that he make a vow to give the feast of the Precious Blood to the entire church, if he should regain the papal territory. Without binding himself by the vow, the pope immediately extended the feast to the whole Church. On the old calendar it was celebrated on July 1, but Catholics may still continue this tradition by increasing their devotion to the most precious Blood throughout the entire month of July.

Prayer:

Most Precious Blood of Life Eternal, price of sinful man’s redemption, by whose saving streams the thirst of souls is quenched, and their stains are washed away, Thou Who dost plead the cause of man before the throne of infinite mercy, from the depths of my heart I adore Thee and desire, as much as lies in my power, to make atonement for the injuries and insults that are constantly offered Thee by mankind, and especially by those who rashly dare to blaspheme Thee. Who will not bless and praise this Blood of infinite value? Whose soul would not be inspired with love for Jesus Who shed It all for us? What would be my fate, had I not been redeemed by this Divine Blood? And what drew Thee from the veins of my Saviour even to the last drop? It was love! O boundless love, which has given us this saving balm! O priceless balm, welling from the fount of immeasurable love! Grant that all hearts and tongues may praise Thee, magnify Thee, and give Thee thanks, now and throughout all ages. Amen.

God bless and keep you all close to His Sacred in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar,

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.