Sirach, Chapter 2, Verse 7-10
7 You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, do not stray lest you fall. 8 You that fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost. 9 You that fear the Lord, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. 10 Consider the generations long past and see: has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been ignored?
Serving the Lord is not without its trials; but no matter what happens, the genuine believer will remain sincere, steadfast, and faithful. Misfortune and humiliation are means of purification to prove one’s worth. Ben Sira believed that patience and unwavering trust in God are ultimately rewarded with the benefits of God’s mercy and of lasting joy.
49 Godly Character Traits
As we near the Advent season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:
Alertness vs Unawareness
Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it (Mark 14:38)
2742 "Pray constantly…always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father." St. Paul adds, "Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints." For "we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing." This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love.
Edge toward the Mystery
The Eucharist is a mystery of Light. Throughout the season of Advent the Church points to the coming of the Light of the World. We are awaiting the birth of the Messiah. The Liturgy commemorates salvation history, the prophets and the people of the Old Testament, waiting in darkness to see the Light. Mary was the first tabernacle, carrying Christ in her womb. She is "woman of the Eucharist" and our model. By putting Holy Mass and the Eucharist at the center of our lives, and being "taught" by Mary, we will enter more deeply in Christ's coming, and God prepares our souls for the coming of His Son. During Advent, add some spiritual activities, such as attending Mass, visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and keeping Sunday holy. To help reinforce the Eucharist in teaching the children in our home, here are some other highlighted activities and recipes.
· The Advent Wreath This is the most popular Advent tradition, with a strong emphasis on the coming of the Light of the World. More candles are lit the closer we come to Christmas, and the closer we are to receive Him in our hearts and in Holy Communion.
· Jesse Tree, Old Testament Salvation History The Jesse Tree is one way to commemorate the memorial of salvation history, prefigured in the Old Testament, including types of Christ and prefigures of the Eucharist. Here is an alternative set of Jesse Tree symbols, which include symbols of the Eucharist, such as Bethlehem, "House of Bread", Manna, and the Ark of the Covenant.
· December 13: St. Lucy, Feast of Light Lucy, or Lucia means Light. Her feast originally coincided with the winter solstice, which marked the shortest day of the year. With her feast day we watch for the Light of the World to come, and many of these feastday customs bring home the mystery of Light.
· Christmas Wheat Also known as "St. Lucy's Wheat" is a Hungarian custom of planting wheat seeds. The symbolism points back to the Eucharist, the Bread of Life.
· Lebkuchen or Lifecake An excellent recipe that points back to the Bread of Life. Read about the history of Lebkuchen.
· Breads of Christmas Bread always points back to the Eucharist. The baking for these Christmas breads occurs during Advent, reminding us of the expectation of Jesus, the Bread of Angels.
· Oplatek or Bread of Angels This is an old Polish custom of exchanging large oval-shaped wafers with figures imprinted on the front reminds us of our daily bread and the Bread of Life who came into the world.
Giving Tuesday aims to celebrate and promote charity and generosity. After two of the largest shopping days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday aims to provide people with a day to give back to the world. Giving back can be through donations, volunteering time or any other form of charitable action. Giving Tuesday was first celebrated in 2012. Since its inception, there has been a 470% increase in online donations for the cause. It is celebrated annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a reminder of the importance of generosity over consumption.
Giving Tuesday Facts & Quotes
· Last year, Giving Tuesday saw a year over year increase of 300% on total donations and a 28% increase in new monthly donors.
· In 2015, there were a total of 1.3 million social media mentions of Giving Tuesday. It officially went viral.
· In 2015, the mean gift size (meaning the average between everybody who donated) on Giving Tuesday was $107.47.
· Over 71 countries around the world support and participate in Giving Tuesday.
You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There's another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity.– Bill Gates, creator of Microsoft.
Giving Tuesday Top Events and Things to Do
· Watch a movie on the joys of gifts and giving. Some suggestions are: Pay it Forward (2000), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), and Millions (2004).
· Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday, #TuesdayGiveawayDay and #TuesdayMeansDonate.
· Volunteer your time at a local homeless shelter or volunteer organization. Giving can be much more than simply giving your money or things away. Giving your time is equally as valuable and in some ways more important.
· Read a book about the joys of sharing. Some suggestions are: The Giving Book, Giving: How Each of Us Change the World and The Giving Tree.
· Donate to a charity of your choice. Charity Navigator can help you find a charity that suits you.
· Please pray for me and this ministry