US Catholic Faith in Real Life

An art meditation for the fourth week of Advent

Advent is about joyous anticipation, but it is also about preparing for Christ's return.

By John Christman |
Article Your Faith

At the threshold of Christmas, our last days of Advent focus on two strong mothers, Elizabeth and Mary. Mothers whose strength in the face of challenges and hardships has been the source of strength for people throughout the centuries. Mothers whose witness of faith made profound impressions upon their children and communities. Mothers who had experienced not only the joy of new life but also the unspeakable tragedy of the execution of their children. Elizabeth and Mary are towering figures of motherhood.

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An art meditation for the third week of Advent

Advent is about joyous anticipation, but it is also about preparing for Christ's return.

By John Christman |
Article Your Faith

Images are powerful. What we see shapes us. We live in an ever-increasing visual culture where we are constantly saturated with images. It is all too easy to become desensitized, complacent, pessimistic, and even cynical because of what we see. After all, we see so many images that are upsetting. Seeing can sometimes stir in us a trend toward negativity. However, seeing can also have a transformative effect for the good.

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What does Advent tell us about our use of time?

’Tis the season for contemplation.

By Alice Camille |
Article Your Faith

Heavens! December! This means the Christmas countdown has been on for weeks or months, depending on which calendar you’re using. In Retail Time, of course, seasonal decorations have been on display since—oh, Halloween or so. However, if you observe the more traditional, liturgical sense of time, Advent began very conveniently this year on the first of the month.

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An art meditation for the second week of Advent

Advent is about joyous anticipation, but it is also about preparing for Christ's return.

By John Christman |
Article Your Faith

The psalmist prophetically proclaims on the second Sunday of Advent, “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever” (Ps. 72). We may cynically respond in our increasingly polarized and uncharitable times, “Justice and peace for whom?” We may be tempted to respond in such a manner because we are often confronted with situations that speak more of injustice and human suffering.

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The challenge of our Christian calling

Clarity would be easy, but our baptismal calling is more challenging.

By Steven P. Millies |
Article News

Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to consecrate the world by his most loving presence,
was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since his conception,
was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh

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An art meditation for the first week of Advent

Advent is about joyous anticipation, but it is also about preparing for Christ's return.

By John Christman |
Article Your Faith

Mountains of garbage, an overturned container ship, displaced animals: What do these have to do with Advent? Isn’t Advent supposed to be a season of joyful anticipation? Are not these four weeks intended to prepare us for the celebration of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ? Why this foreboding imagery in a season marked by hopeful expectation?

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To keep Christ in Christmas, we need Advent

Advent prepares us to let go of our powerseeking ways.

By Meghan J. Clark |
Article Your Faith

Advent is a season of preparation, prayer, and discernment. For me, it is both my favorite liturgical season and the most challenging. The people of God are called to be watchful and to prepare the way of the Lord. And yet in the chaos of contemporary society, the one thing we all seem to lack during Advent is time. Culturally, we move from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, sacrificing Advent along the way. Why are we in such a rush to Christmas? Can we truly have Christmas without Advent?

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10 simple ways to keep faith and family central this Christmas

Help children find the holy in all parts of the holiday season.

By Annemarie Scobey-Polacheck |
Article Lifestyle

It is hard for a baby in a manger to compete with eight reindeer and Santa holding a huge pack of gifts. The anticipatory pause of Advent—quiet and dark blue—has a difficult time holding a candle to the glitter and colorful lights of a city’s exuberant holiday decorations. But what if we don’t need to compete? What if we can help our children find the holy in all parts of the holiday season?

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This Advent, take a lesson from Thomas Merton

“The time for relying on structures has disappeared.”

By Steven P. Millies |
Article Your Faith

“From now on, everyone stands on his own feet. . . . The time for relying on structures has disappeared. They are good and they should help us, and we should do the best we can with them. But they may be taken away, and if everything is taken away, what do you do next?”

Fifty years since Thomas Merton died, and during this year, as tumultuous and violent as any since he died, we are face to face with the reality that Merton set before us only moments before he disappeared from view: “The time for relying on structures has disappeared.”

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Is Advent in the Bible?

Scripture is full of stories of others who wait with the same expectant hush we experience in the four weeks before Christmas.

By Peggy Ryan, O.P. |
Article Your Faith

As a kid the few days before Christmas were a rush of activity. My parents always waited until then to get our tree. My brothers and sisters would say that my parents waited because of the bargains, but I believe they were celebrating Advent. 

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