Tag: Advent

Setting Our Heart on Jesus

This post originally appeared on the blog for the Be Love Revolution.

By Emily Messiter

People bring prayer requests to our Blessed Mother at the Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto, Ontario.

It happens every year around the second week of Advent: I find myself slightly overwhelmed by a list of pre-Christmas to-do’s, mixed with a constant buzz in my head of perfect gifts to buy and, oh yes!, final exams and papers and work obligations to complete. The stillness and prayerfulness that marked the beginning of this sacred season fade into a realization that time is flying and, Oh my, we’re near the end of the decade and What am I doing with my life?, But first thing’s first, I need to switch out the laundry! In the midst of this, we are gifted with two special feasts to honor a woman who very much understands: Mary, our Mother.

As I have settled into this time of Advent, in some ways I have been appalled at my own humanity. Call it the excitement of this time of year, or end of semester adrenaline, or December rain, but my normally steady interior state has been anything but. One day I am responding to the invitation to choose joy and encounter Christ in the stillness of my heart; the next I am spinning in a bout of melancholy, running through the laundry list of things I am confused or anxious or stressed about. I want trust in Jesus to make me steady and even-keeled and not so prone to emotional highs and lows, but I am humbly admitting that some days I definitely look more like a ship being tossed about on the waves.

This week in particular, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe are reminding me of the sweet gift it is to have Mary as a Mother, a woman who walked this same earth, who felt feelings, who experienced the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows while entrusting herself totally to the Providence of God. This Advent, and especially this week as we celebrate her feasts, our Mother is inviting us to do the same: amidst everything—both on the days that we are proud of our prayer time or heart of service and on the days when we feel just like a big mess of emotions—to set our hearts on her Son.

Continue reading here.

Hope is a Who

Image Credit

This article originally appeared on the blog for the Be Love Revolution, which you can view here.

Many Decembers ago, in a small dorm room at the University of Michigan, a miracle happened. The God of the Universe broke into my selfish and sinful heart. That night after months of searching, my unnamed longing was revealed to me in the person of Jesus the Messiah, and through my feeble YES, faith—as new as the baby Jesus—was born in my heart.

Now as a disciple of Jesus I’m trying to help others, especially young women, to know, love, and follow Him too. My idea of a great week is Pine Hills Girls Camp, being on mission in the garbage dump in Mexico City, an early Tuesday morning bible study at the local coffee shop, and being with my grandchildren.

Yet despite all the good things and God things in my life, I am prone to discouragement, and at times I struggle with HOPE. After many years of following Jesus, I have faced great joy and great pain, triumphs and disappointments, answered prayers and ones that seem to fall on deaf ears. But during the season of Advent there is a truth that has helped me cling to and grow in hope. Hope is a Who. I know this sounds like a Dr. Seuss book title, but hear me out…

When I was pregnant with each of my children I was filled with such expectant hope because I was preparing to giving birth to a real person, not a theory or a concept, but a real, living person with a name (Sarah, Michael, Joshua, Rachel), a face, an identity, a personality, and a purpose. I couldn’t wait to welcome that little person into our life.

Advent helps me remember that God who really exists—not as an idea, a philosophy, or theory—was born into our world as a human person, with a name (Jesus), an identity, a personality, and a purpose. Hope is a Who. My hope is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ and the certainty of what God has promised in Him. My hope isn’t based on my feelings or circumstances which change constantly, or in material things which break and wear out. My hope in others can bring disappointment, and hope in myself incites self-reliance and often ends in failure.

What fills me with hope is Jesus’ unbreakable promise: “I am with you always.” The name Emmanuel, God-with-us, reminds me that I am never alone, that he came to earth to set up his dwelling within me; that he will never leave me or forsake me. True hope isn’t anchored in my word, on wishful thinking or what I want, but on what the sovereign, loving God knows I need, revealed to me in the Word made flesh, and the rock-solid truth of the Scriptures.

Hope has a name and His Name is JESUS. When the light of hope fades within you, like it does in me sometimes, I challenge you to speak, proclaim, and praise the name of Jesus with the confidence of a trusted friend. Let your hope grow—not in what is to come or in what may be, but in Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah who has come to make His home in us. This Christmas, may Jesus, the Hope of the world, find a welcome place in our hearts.

The Importance of Joy

Joey McCoy recently wrote the following post for i.d.9:16’s blog.

‘Tis the season to nurture a joyful spirit. Here are some neat quotes and stories about persevering in joy throughout our journey with the Lord. (Every subsequent word is copied down from the book, Saintly Solutions by Fr. Joseph Esper.)

  • Philip Neri insisted, “A cheerful soul becomes holy more quickly.”
  • Teresa of Avila was known for her lively and affectionate personality, her sharp (although not unkind) wit, and her ever-present sense of humor . . . Teresa enjoyed life, food included. Someone once sent her a partridge for her meal, which she ate with relish. A visitor was scandalized that a saint was taking delight in her food and wondered aloud what people would think. “Let them think what they please, there is a time for partridge and a time for penance.”

Read more thoughts from the saints on how to bring more JOY to this Christmas season and everyday life by clicking here!