Growing in Faith - December 2022
Encounter Christ this Christmas
God came to us in the most vulnerable human form possible so that He could draw us to Himself for all eternity. This Christmas, answer His call and come close to Him:
In song. Listen to and ponder the words of your favorite Christmas hymns. Imagine the reality of heavens filled with angels and faraway kings answering the call to pay Him homage.
In service. The newborn Jesus is the physical sign of God's love for us. When we give of our time and resources in His service, we become an instrument of the love. Share His love in your parish, in your neighborhood, in your community.
In mercy. Experience God's mercy in Confession and His loving presence in the Eucharist. Then, like Him, offer mercy to anyone who may have hurt you. "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." (Matthew 6:12)
In prayer. Jesus came to live among us so He could be intimate with us. He wants to connect on a deep level - more than rushed prayers or perfunctory devotions. During Advent, find quiet time to give Him your full attention and speak to Him heart to heart.
In watchfulness. Live this Advent with a new awareness of the presence of God. Be awake to who He is and how precious you are to Him.
The holiday season is an exciting time but it can also be a time when money worries, family worries, and every kind of worry intrudes. Instead, try to follow this advice from St. Paul, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."(Philippians 4:8).
Strengthen your Faith in God
1. Be more prayerful. The more you talk to God like He is just sitting in front of you, the more you’ll know that He is really a person you can pour out to.
2. Read God’s Word. The Bible does not only give wise teachings on how we should live, but also gives a us a glimpse of how God revealed Himself to the people in the past.
3. Study the lives of the saints. You will realize that these people were as imperfect as we are, so you can relate and learn from them.
4. Surround yourself by people who are passionate about God. These people remain optimistic despite troubles and find their strength through praying.
5. Practice your faith through action. It is not enough that we believe in God. It should be seen in our actions. Apply what you learn about our faith in your daily life.
6. Be still and believe that God is in control. Whenever you feel like quitting and hopeless, just look up to the heavens and believe God is in control. Just be still—meaning, keep calm, do not be afraid– and trust that God will work in His ways.
Why Do We Celebrate the Immaculate Conception?
Since the beginning of the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been regarded as the holiest and the most blessed of all disciples.
The celebration of the Immaculate Conception began in the 7th century under the title, "Conception of Mary by Saint Anne" and was changed to "Immaculate Conception" with the definition of the doctrine by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854.
It states that "The Most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, preserved exempt from all stain of original sin" (Ineffabilis Deus).
We can say that the Immaculate Conception was the beginning of our salvation and is now one of the central doctrines of our faith. Because of this, we celebrate the Feast Day to highlight the significant place Our Lady has in salvation history.