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Advent begins on Sunday, December 1, 2013 (today)
and ends on Tuesday, December 24, 2013.
Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas.
It is a waiting period for the celebration
of the anniversary of Jesus coming into the world.
The first four books of the New Testament are full
of quotes from Jesus.
Many of these quotes stand on their own, but one should not forget
to read them in context to get a full understanding
of what the Lord was saying.

One of the greatest, and most often quoted,
verses in the Bible is actually a quote from Jesus.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.

Jesus Said that He Is `The Water of Life`

John 4:13, 14 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water
springing up Into everlasting life.

The Greatest Commandment:
Love God and Your Neighbor...
Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Be a Servant to Others
Mark 10:45
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.


National Catholic Register
Culture of Life/Five Advent Tips
Family Matters: Married Life
BY Tom and Caroline McDonald

Dec. 1-14, 2013 Issue | Posted 12/1/13 at 8:30 AM
Advent makes us grateful to be Catholic: It is full of beautiful, ancient traditions
unique to our faith — an ideal time to instill a yearning for Christ in our kids.

During Advent, we can experience with our children what it was like to be an Old Testament people, longing for a Savior.

We can teach our children lessons about patience and learning to wait.

Seeing our children's excitement and joy about Christmas can renew our own love for Jesus.
How can we not take the time to celebrate this Church season?

Here are five easy things we've done over the years in our home:

1. Put an Advent wreath on your dinner table and light it each night for dinner.
Don't let this age-old tradition only be seen in Church on Sunday. The wreath symbolizes
more than just the four weeks of Advent; the four candles can also represent the 4,000 years man was on earth before the Savior was born. The kids can take turns lighting and blowing out the candles. We usually say a short prayer like, "Come, Lord Jesus, be born in our hearts."

2. Do active works of mercy to prepare for the Savior. Advent is a time of preparation,
and we all need tangible ways to prepare spiritually for the birth of Jesus.
Put up a small manger somewhere in your home or outside, and each time any member of the family does something for the love of Jesus, he or she can put a strand of hay in the crib. It's a blessing to see the manger get fuller and fuller for Jesus as Christmas nears.
Don't put Jesus in until Christmas Eve. We've also seen some families do a similar version
of this with paper chains that they then use to decorate the Christmas tree.

3. Don't forget St. Nicholas. His story is the origin of hanging stockings, after all.
He was a real person, a bishop during one of the Roman persecutions,
and his feast day is Dec. 6.

4. Exchange names and be "Advent angels" for one another. Encourage the kids to pray
for the person they've drawn, as well as do secret good deeds for that person throughout
the season. On Christmas Eve, everyone can guess each other's angels and exchange presents.
This helps sibling rivalry become sibling revelry!

5. Do something spiritual for yourself. Can you add in a short prayer time
or Bible reading each morning during Advent or perhaps a daily Rosary?
It just might turn into a great habit.

Take advantage of any spiritual happenings in your parish, too. Pray that Christmas
will bring you a new zeal and deeper love for Christ this year.

The McDonalds are coordinators of family life and
adult education at St. Ignatius parish
in Mobile, Alabama.

Copyright © 2013 EWTN News, Inc.
'All rights reserved'.
The Lord is coming — are you ready?

Source: Northwest Catholic News::
By Sister Ann Shields

Four weeks to prepare your heart for Christmas

The readings for the first Sunday of Advent are a marvelous "launching pad" for living Advent. I'd like to show you a way to really live this season.

Read Romans 13:11-14 and Matthew 24:37-44. Pay special attention to these words: "Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: If the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come."

Advent is a time to take stock — in joyful anticipation of a Savior who loves to come to our lives through the joyful celebration of Christmas. Not a day of tinsel and wrappings,
but a day of holding and being held in the arms of a merciful Savior who came on this earth
out of love for you.

Advent is a time to make our hearts ready to receive him — each year in a deeper and deeper way. If you've never done it, why not begin this Advent? If you have done it before,
enter in this year more deeply to the saving work of grace in your heart
that your Savior desires to accomplish.

Take stock of your life...
Advent begins this year on Dec. 1. Spend the first week (15 minutes a day) taking stock of what it is in your life that most causes God to take a back seat in your life — or no seat at all! Be honest. As you think about the sin in your life, think, too, about what is the most problematic area — what's the root? What do you do that is at the bottom of most of your difficulties? Then, take that to confession. Do it now because God has so much more to give you in preparation. You want to make sure that the house is clean early in Advent so you can receive all God desires to give. After you have gone to confession, ask God for the grace to see clearly the temptation in this area before you give in to it — in thought or word or action.

Ask for grace to say 'no'...
Each day of the second week (15 minutes), ask God every morning for grace to recognize when you are being tempted and to give you the grace to say "no" to that temptation in this area. (Don't try to cover all the areas of sin — that leads to discouragement. Just take one area and the more you can attack the main root, the better it will be.)

Ask for salvation from sin...
In the third week, ask God to enter into your life more deeply; ask him to be your Savior and, in a particular way, ask him to save you from sin in the area to which you are paying most attention. We cannot save ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Acknowledging that and relying on him will set you free with delight and hope in a whole new way!

Give thanks to your Savior...
In the fourth week, thank him that he is your Savior. Really, take time each day to express your gratitude that he is giving you power to conquer sin — step by step. Don't be discouraged when you fall; just stand up, repent and keep going. Many of us have difficulty in expressing gratitude. Start practicing with the one to whom you owe the most gratitude — Jesus! Prepare to welcome him more deeply into your heart and into your whole life — as your Savior! Rely on him, turn to him in your needs, and this Christmas may well be the best Christmas you have ever known! God bless you and count on my prayer.  

Sister Ann Shields is an author and a member of the Servants of God's Love. Contact her at Renewal Ministries, 230 Collingwood,
Suite 240, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.
*©*November 22, 2013*

 ~ ~ ~

*©*2013*Dec*01*~*First Sunday of Advent*
`Honorably Presented`
*©*2013*' Revised Excerpts '....
~*Never Ending Circle Of Love Manuscripts' *~


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