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DECEMBER


We turn our attention indoors with Advent prayers and preparations for the birth of Christ; for most of us, the indoors makes up the part of our environment in which we spend the most time. It is also the most unregulated and can be the most polluted part of the total environment –due to new home cleaning products and tighter ventilation. Consider a simpler home environment, where houseplants purify the air, where fresh air is plentiful, and where chemical products are limited and controlled. The yearly cycle of twelve months can make us more aware of our human environment and should help us as individuals and as a community to conduct a monthly examination of conscience.

Overview of December[1]


The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on December 8. The first day of December falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and are represented by the liturgical color green. The next 23 days fall during the liturgical season of Advent and are represented by the liturgical color purple. The remaining days of December mark the beginning of the Christmas season. The liturgical color changes to white or gold — a symbol of joy, purity and innocence. The liturgy of Advent focuses on remembering Christ's first coming at Bethlehem which then directs our mind to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. The readings focus on the people of the Old Testament awaiting the Messiah, John the Baptist, heralding the way for Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary and her maternal preparations. The main Feasts of Advent are St. John Damascene, (December 4), St. Nicholas (December 6), St. Ambrose (December 7), Immaculate Conception (December 8), St. Juan Diego (December 9), St. Damascus (December 11), Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), St. Lucy (December 13), St. John of the Cross (December 14) and St. Peter Canisius (December 21). Christmastide begins with the First Vespers (Evening Prayer) of Christmas on December 24th and ends on the Sunday after Epiphany. Christmas and Easter are the only solemnities with octaves attached in the revised calendar. The Christmas octave differs from Easter in that it includes some major feasts: St. Stephen (December 26), St. John the Evangelist (December 27), and St. Thomas Becket (December 29). The octave closes on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The feast of St. Francis Xavier (December 3) is superseded by the Sunday liturgy. The feast of St. Sylvester I (December 31) is superseded by the Feast of the Holy Family.
The Reason for the Season


The month of December is filled with expectation and celebration. Preparation is the key word for the first 24 days of December. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning. Too often, however, we are so busy with the material preparations that we lose sight of the real reason for our activity. Christmas is a Christian feast — and we must reclaim it as such! In the same way that a family eagerly prepares for a baby, so in Advent should we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child. We should keep Advent as a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and of hope and keep our thoughts on the incredible love and humility of our God in taking on the flesh of the Virgin Mary. Let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our Savior may come to dwell. The best person we can turn to for help during Advent is Mary, Christ's and our Mother. She awaited the day of His birth with more eagerness than any other human being. Her preparation was complete in every respect. Let's crown our preparation and borrow something of Mary's prayerfulness, her purity and whole-hearted submission to God's will.




First Saturday



 Genesis, Chapter 26, Verse 7
When the men of the place asked questions about his wife, he answered, “She is my sister.” He was afraid that, if he called her his wife, the men of the place would kill him on account of Rebekah, since she was beautiful.

So, Isaac (whom was bound as a sacrificial offering to God) the only son of Abraham, now is grown, has a wife and is pulling the same trick as his father Abraham with the men who desire his wife-stating she is my sister.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the recurring story has a unified purpose:


"From the point of view of the history of culture these episodes are very instructive. But it is not very probable that Abraham would have run the risk twice. Moreover, a similar incident is reported in regard to Isaac and Rebecca. This recurrence indicates that none of the accounts is to be accepted as historical; all three are variations of a theme common to the popular oral histories of the Patriarchs. That women were married in the way here supposed is not to be doubted. The purpose of the story is to extol the heroines as most beautiful and show that the Patriarchs were under the special protection of the Deity."[1]

Another lesson we can take from this is that Isaac here was dealing with men that had no fear of God. Men who take what they want and will kill to get it. Isaac here could not fight them because he was not strong enough. Isaac could not leave because there was a famine. So, he sought to deceive. Yet, even in his weakness God was with him and when Abimelech, the righteous king, discovered the truth put him under his royal protection; thus, saving him from danger. Righteous men & nations always seek to protect the weak.

First Saturday[2]

The elements of this devotion, therefore, consist in the following four points, all of which must be offered in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


1.      Confession: This confession can be made before the First Saturday or afterward, provided that Holy Communion be received in the state of grace. In 1926, Christ in a vision explained to Lucia (Fatima) that this confession could be made a week before or even more, and that it should be offered in reparation.
2.      Holy Communion: Before receiving Holy Communion, it is likewise necessary to offer it in reparation to Our Lady. Our Lord told Lucia in 1930, “This Communion will be accepted on the following Sunday for just reasons, if my priests allow it so.” So, if work or school, sickness, or another just reason prevents the Communion on a First Saturday, with this permission it may be received the following Sunday. If Communion is transferred, any or all of the other acts of the devotion may also be performed on Sunday if the person so desires.
3.      Rosary: The Rosary is a vocal prayer said while meditating upon the mysteries of Our Lord’s life and Passion and Our Lady’s life. To comply with the request of our Blessed Mother, it must be offered in reparation and said properly while meditating.
4.      15-minute meditation: Also offered in reparation, the meditation may embrace one or more mysteries; it may include all, taken together or separately. This meditation should be the richest of any meditation, because Our Lady promised to be present when she said “...those who keep me company....”

World AIDS Day[3]


World AIDS Day serves to remember those who have died from AIDS and to bring about awareness of HIV/AIDS through education and publicly held events. HIV is a virus that attacks the body's immune system and makes it progressively more difficult to fight infections and diseases. Once HIV advances and becomes so severe that the body's immune system is too weak to fight off many infections and diseases, it is called AIDS. There is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS and if left untreated by antiretroviral medication, patients' immune systems fail leading to death. World AIDS Day is also an opportunity for people to show their support for people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is one of the eight WHO Global Health Days. The day was created by the World Health Organization in 1988. Since its inception over two decades ago, the world has managed to halt and reverse the spread of HIV. According to the WHO, the occurrence of new cases has decreased 35% between 2000 and 2015, while AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 24% over the same time frame, all thanks to antiretroviral treatments and widespread AIDS education and awareness. World AIDS Day is observed on December 1st of each year.

Read this again and replace HIV with SIN

World AIDS Day Facts

·         The Red Ribbon is the universal symbol of support for those living with HIV/AIDS.
·         The AIDS Memorial Quilt Project allows friends and family members of someone who has died from AIDS to construct a quilt panel and have it placed in the quilt. The quilt travels and is displayed throughout the US.
·         The first case of what is now known as AIDS was reported in the US in June 1981.
·         According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 5 are unaware of their infection.
·         According to World Health Organization, AIDS has claimed over 39 million lives globally.

World AIDS Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Wear a Red Ribbon, an international symbol of AIDS support.
·         Learn the facts of how HIV is transmitted so you can be better prepared. Remember, HIV is spread through body fluids such as blood, semen, rectal and vaginal fluids and breast milk.
·         Get involved in a fundraising effort to support research into HIV/AIDS treatment. Many fundraisers are done in the form of HIV/AIDS day walks.
·         Watch a movie or documentary about HIV/AIDS. Some popular suggestions: Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Philadelphia Story (1993), Longtime Companion (1990), The Age of AIDS (2006) and AIDS, Inc (2007).
·         Get tested if unsure of your infection status. Local pharmacies sell HIV home test kits, or you can find free testing sites in most areas.

49 Godly Character Traits[4]

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:

Boldness vs. Fearfulness


Confidence that what I have to say or do is true and right and just in the sight of God (Acts 4:29)

2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: "Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will." Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: "all things are possible to him who believes." Jesus is as saddened by the "lack of faith" of his own neighbors and the "little faith" of his own disciples as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.

The Way[5] Heart

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

You won't submit to the will of God... and yet you fall in with the 
will of the most insignificant creature!

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wife%E2%80%93sister_narratives_in_the_Book_of_Genesis
[4]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/
[5]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm



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