December 17, 2014
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On this Third Sunday of Advent we continue our preparations to receive the gift of the Christ Child. Recently at a General Audience, November 19th, Pope Francis addressed the faithful to receive another gift...the gift of holiness.
 
Our Holy Father said, Firstly, we must take into account that sanctity is not something that we procure, that we obtain ourselves through our qualities and capacities. Sanctity is a gift, it is the gift that the Lord Jesus gives to us, when He takes us with Him and clothes us in Himself, making us like Him. Sanctity is the most beautiful face of the Church: it is rediscovering oneself in communion with God, in the fullness of His life and His love. It is not the prerogative of the few: sanctity is a gift that is offered to all, without exclusion, and which therefore constitutes the distinctive characteristic of every Christian.
 
To be holy, he continued, it is not necessary to be bishops, priests or religious. We are all called to be holy! It is by living with love and offering one's own Christian witness in our everyday occupations that we are called to become holy; and each person in the condition and in the state of life in which he finds himself: consecrated persons, married couples, unmarried baptized persons, parents, grandparents, catechists, educators and volunteers. Every state of life leads to sanctity, if lived in communion with the Lord and in the service of one's brethren.
 
For your use: The Blessing of the Christmas Tree...
 
Dear God,
two thousand years ago,
You brought Your Son, Jesus
into this world to teach us
the power of love and sacrifice.
As we raise this tree,
we remember His birth
and the meaning of His life for us.
Bless this tree
as a symbol of our celebration of Jesus' birth
and our gratitude for His sacrifice.
May the joy this tree brings
and the gifts we place under it
remind us of the many gifts You have given us.
We ask Your blessings upon our loved ones,
this day and always. Amen.
 
As we decorate our homes, bake the holiday cookies, wrap the gifts, and put up the Christmas tree may each of these task be done with love in our hearts for Christ and one another, and let us remember... "All that matters in any and every way Christ is being proclaimed.
 
Monsignor William McCumber
 

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