Advent Reminder

As we approach the end of Advent I wanted to check in and see what you remember of this time.

The Advent Season and then The Christmastide season are about preparation for the coming of the Christ and then celebrating his joyful birth among us. Have you remembered this or have you gotten mixed up in the secular side of this Holy Season!

What gifts have you gotten to give unto the King of Kings this year? Don’t be so wrapped up in exchanging gifts with each other that you loose sight that we celebrate the gift of the greatest Gift God gave mankind this season.

It is Christ the newborn King that should be remembered first and foremost and we need to flourish with the gifts the Holy Spirit gave to us to further His Kingdom and Glorify Him.

Remember without the manger we can not have the Cross and Empty Tomb! Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord! Veni, Veni, Emmanuel!

Let us pray!

Father, just as You sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus, help me to clear the path in my heart, too. Show me the distractions in my life that block me from all-out worship of You this Advent. Lord, I await Your coming! As I celebrate the first Advent––the first coming––I look toward the day where I will see You face to face. I imagine what it will be like. Give me a heart, Lord, that looks for Your coming on a daily basis. Help me to live my life where I’m constantly seeking Your presence. My offering to You today is my righteous life for I know I am only clean because of Jesus. Show me today how I need to be refined, purified, forgiven. Give me the strength to ask for forgiveness and to then change my ways.

~Sarah Martin, from “The Awe & Wonder of Advent: Day 18

Small Voice

The Second Sunday of Advent

One small voice can start a revolution!

Processional Hymn:

The Collect:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people,

says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

and cry to her

that she has served her term,

that her penalty is paid,

that she has received from the Lord’s hand

double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:

“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,

make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up,

and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level,

and the rough places a plain.

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,

and all people shall see it together,

for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry out!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All people are grass,

their constancy is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades;

but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Get you up to a high mountain,

O Zion, herald of good tidings;

lift up your voice with strength,

O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,

lift it up, do not fear;

say to the cities of Judah,

“Here is your God!”

See, the Lord God comes with might,

and his arm rules for him;

his reward is with him,

and his recompense before him.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd;

he will gather the lambs in his arms,

and carry them in his bosom,

and gently lead the mother sheep.

The Word of the Lord.

Response Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

Benedixisti, Domine

1 You have been gracious to your land, O Lord, *

you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.

2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people *

and blotted out all their sins.

8 I will listen to what the Lord God is saying, *

for he is speaking peace to his faithful people

and to those who turn their hearts to him.

9 Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, *

that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth have met together; *

righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring up from the earth, *

and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 The Lord will indeed grant prosperity, *

and our land will yield its increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him, *

and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

A Reading from The Epistle 2 Peter 3:8-15a

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel Hymn:

A Reading from the Holy Gospel of Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way;

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Sequence Hymn:

John the Baptist was a small but great voice which began a great revolution of faith! He was prophesied by Isaiah to bare witness to the coming of the Christ King.

Story Time

In 2004 Victor Yushchenko stood for the presidency of the Ukraine. Vehemently opposed by the ruling party Yushchenko’s face was disfigured and he almost lost his life when he was mysteriously poisoned. This was not enough to deter him from standing for the presidency.

On the day of the election Yushchenko was comfortably in the lead. The ruling party, not to be denied, tampered with the results. The state-run television station reported “ladies and gentlemen, we announce that the challenger Victor Yushchenko has been decisively defeated.”

In the lower right-hand corner of the screen a woman by the name of Natalia Dmitruk was providing a translation service for the deaf community. As the news presenter regurgitated the lies of the regime, Natalia Dmitruk refused to translate them. “I’m addressing all the deaf citizens of Ukraine” she signed. “They are lying and I’m ashamed to translate those lies. Yushchenko is our president.”

The deaf community sprang into gear. They text messaged their friends about the fraudulent result and as news spread of Dmitruk’s act of defiance increasing numbers of journalists were inspired to likewise tell the truth. Over the coming weeks the “Orange Revolution” occurred as a million people wearing orange made their way to the capital city of Kiev demanding a new election. The government was forced to meet their demands, a new election was held and Victor Yushchenko became president.

Philip Yancey writes

“When I heard the story behind the orange revolution, the image of a small screen of truth in the corner of the big screen became for me an ideal picture of the church. You see we as a church do not control the big screen. (When we do, we usually mess it up.) Go to any magazine rack or turn on the television and you see a consistent message. What matters is how beautiful you are, how much money or power you have. Similarly, though the world includes many poor people, they rarely make the magazine covers or the news shows. Instead we focus on the superrich, names like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey.… Our society is hardly unique. Throughout history nations have always glorified winners, not losers. Then, like the sign language translator in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, along comes a person named Jesus who says in effect, Don’t believe the big screen – they’re lying. It’s the poor who are blessed, not the rich. Mourners are blessed too, as well as those who hunger and thirst, and the persecuted. Those who go through life thinking they’re on top end up on the bottom. And those who go through life feeling they’re on the bottom end up on the top. After all, what does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”

Source: Philip Yancey, What Good Is God, pages 184-186

It’s time once again for all of our small voices to start a revolution and bring people the Truth of God and I mean the truth…not some sugar coated Social Gospel that seems to be all to prevalent today! Remember as the Lord said in the Book of Malachi 3:6a “For I the LORD do not change.”

Will you step up this Advent season and Prepare the Way of the Lord? I say call people to repentance and to be true of heart and in love of God. Bring them the Message of everlasting life with a journey that starts in Bethlehem and ends in an empty tomb! Prepare ye the way of the Lord!

Advent IV Don’t Procrastinate

Advent IV: Don’t Procrastinate
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

(sing) Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Prepare Ye the way of the Lord.

Jeremiah 13:6 (Amplified): Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings darkness and before your feet stumble upon the dark and twilit mountains, and [before], while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it thick darkness.

Ecclesiastics 3:1 (NLT): For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

We are in the Holy Season of Advent, a time to prepare for the wonderful celebration of the Holy Nativity. What is the greatest sin against preparing? Procrastination. Let us define procrastination: the Random House Dictionary states: “the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention”

Right now, today, this very moment your soul requires your immediate attention. Turn your hearts and minds into preparing for that beautiful moment when we celebrate our Saviors birth as well as to His Second coming. Take to the most Holy Sacraments especially Confession/Absolution and then the most Holiest of all the Sacred Eucharist! Pray the Rosary and yes even partake in our weekly Stations of the Cross!

Let us consider our Gospel reading today with the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.

The Holy Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13 (Douay-Rheims Bible): THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

This commentary from Matthew Henry sums up our task at hand. “The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the great day of Christ’s coming. As Christians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, also to be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God. The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ’s approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we should use it. The suddenness of death and of Christ’s coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor’s conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.”

Ecc 11:3-4 (KJV): If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Deuteronomy 23:21(Douay-Rheims Bible): When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it: because the Lord thy God will require it. And if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin.

Watch and be ready for we know not the great hour our Savior will return. We celebrate this season of penance and preparedness by searching our hearts, and our minds. Do not fall into the sin of procrastination; keep your lamp always ready and prepared. Veni, Veni Emanuel et Fidelis!

Advent 1

First Sunday of Advent.
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.

Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord!
Veni, Veni Emmanuel!

A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Mark 1: 3

Our faith is steep in traditions. We come to the point in our liturgical season to prepare to celebrate the most Holy Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Holy Season of Advent. For centuries Christians used this holy season to prepare themselves spiritually for Christmas. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus and means “coming” or “arrival.”

Although people think of advent as a season of joyous celebration, it is actually a season of preparation, it is a mini-Lent, a time for prayer, confession, and self-reflection. If you pay attention to our liturgical colors, you will see that at times I wear either Black or Serum Blue vestments. The reason behind this is to recall that we are in a penitentiary season, to remind us that we need to prepare ourselves to welcome the new born King and make straight his paths!

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14

Make His home literally means tabernacle. The analogy is that of the Tabernacle in the wilderness when God pitched His tent among the Hebrews and manifested His glory there so Jesus identified Himself with humanity by becoming human! Why did God go so far? A chief reason is this: He wants us to know that He understands us, He gets us. Through a scandalous pregnancy, an untimely trip and an overcrowded inn, God triumphed in the Virgin Mary’s Story. God look on your face in the hope that you would see His!

I want you to take a moment and think of one or two traditions that you and your family use to help you in your Advent journey. Are you preparing your hearts and your minds to kneel at the manager come Christmas Morning or are you to wrapped up in the secular aspect of this Holy Season? I utter the words of John the Baptist again: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”

Advent is a season of preparation because it is also a season of anticipation—a glorious gift is coming soon and we want to be ready to receive it! Because God became human, we can see and know God in the person of Jesus. We can also rely on the fact that God knows us. He understands how we feel because He has faced what we face, including weakness, testing and suffering. Author and theologian C.S. Lewis elaborates on the vital importance of this truth: “God could, had he pleased, have been incarnate in a man of iron nerves, the Stoic sort who lets no sigh escape him. Of his great humility he chose to be incarnate in the man of delicate sensibilities who wept at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane…. He has faced all that the weakest of us face, has shared not only the strength of our nature but every weakness of it except sin. If He had been incarnate in a man of immense natural courage, that would have been for many of us almost the same as his not being incarnate at all!”

What Sacrifice do you make this Advent Season? Name it and own it! The Confessional will be open every day for the Sacrament of Absolution, and Adoration times will be posted.

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord! O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Christmas Cards

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My dear friends and readers.  Tis that glorious season knocking at our door.  The Holy Season of Advent begins on 27 November.  Also tis my yearly plea for address for those of you that would like a Christmas card from my home.  I’ve already sent out two batches of Cards.  If you’d like a card please send me an email with the subject Christmas Card and have your address in the body of the email.  I do have other news brewing but before I tell you my wonderful friends I need confirmation.

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