Advent is a time of hope and prayer. On my first year living advent as a married person, me and my wife decided to continue on the tradition of the Advent Wreath, so every meal we light it and pray in preparation for Christmas.
For the meaning of the Advent Wreath I borrow the explanation of my friend on Isntagram the CatholicBarber:
What is the meaning of the Advent Wreath? Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent Wreath is used to symbolize God the Father and eternal life. The wreath holds four candles which are lit over the four weeks of Advent. There are three violet (purple) candles and one rose candle, each representing 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Savior. Violet is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of penance, sacrifice, and prayer. During the first two and the last weeks of Advent we light violet candles.The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for Christmas is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the rose candle on the third Sunday of Advent. Traditionally, each of the four candles on an Advent wreath has their own meaning. These meanings are simply illustrated in The Four Weeks of Advent Pewter Advent Wreath. The first Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the Prophet’s Candle reminding us that Jesus is coming. The second Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the Bethlehem Candle reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the Shepherd’s Candle reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus. The fourth Sunday symbolizes Peace with the Angel’s Candle reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” When Advent Wreaths are decorated the materials often have symbolic meaning. The use of evergreens reminds us of our eternal life with Christ, holly represents the crown of thorns from the Passion of Jesus, and pine cones symbolize Christ’s Resurrection. I hope you now know what the meaning of the Advent Candles represent. (his photo and explanation)
Let’s wait in joyful hope the coming of our Savior.
This is another translation from Denise Landim’s blog once more she said exactly what I was feeling, I ended it with tears in my eyes…
I do not know where you are now, but I want this letter to be a prayer to God for you.
You did not know me nor I knew you beyond, of course, of what I saw appear in newspapers, magazines and photos about your life. Lies and truths of a story full of speculation; overexposure of an intimacy devastated. However, I know that your life touched the lives of many, in other hand, for me, your death touched me deeply.
But I’m not here to judge you, to throw rocks on your “falls” or to play guess the day of your death, as many did. I’m no better than you at all. Also I am not here to investigate your death or trying to figure out how it happened, many others have it upon themselves to do this.
I’m here to apologize, because you passed away without knowing that while you sang “No, no, no ..”, God said “Yes, yes, yes ..” ‘ to the decision to love you until the last consequences. While you believed you were not good, Someone saw the best you had to offer. While you were throwing yourself in the pit, He waited for an opportunity to hold you. God ran against time, but He stopped on your freedom. And even if you made the decision to sink, freely, yet I need to apologize, because perhaps no one has told you that there was a much better life with Him and a much better song than the one that your life sang.
We were the same age, but I had an opportunity that you did not, even if you have had the opportunity to be much more famous and infinitely richer than me. I had the chance to meet the love of God, did not need drugs to fill my emptiness, this is our only difference, I had the opportunity and grabbed it.
Far from the bad taste jokes and relentless speculation, I join the suffering of God’s heart and the heart those who truly loved you. I ask God to make you hear, wherever you are, the song of His love for you.
The music of God’s love will never stop playing, even if one day your music, Amy, stop selling. The music of God’s love will never stop playing, even if no one sings, no one hears, it will never cease.
And I ask God for the grace to sing it stronger with my life so that others like you can hear it in time …
Today we celebrate St Anthony’s, in north america we pray for him in order to find stuff we’ve lost but here in Brazil we pray to “find” a husband/wife. That’s why the day we celebrate those who are in love is on the 12th of June and not on the day before St. Valentine.
So, these last couple weeks people were talking about their boyfriends and girlfriends, about what they were going to give as a present, but I’ve seen some people feeling bad because they didn’t have a boyfriend (sorry girls but it was mostly a girl thing). I’ve found a phrase, which I published on my Facebook wall that says something like this (it was in Portuguese): “I’m not spending that day with a girlfriend, I never look for an Indian on Indian’s day or for a tree on tree’s day” That may sound like I’m trying to find some consolation around, which wasn’t the point. After that remembered, through a post of a friend, of a saying I’ve found a long time ago on Jacilyn Rae’s blog that says “A woman’s heart should be so lost in God, that a man must seek Him to find her.” I’ve found it so true that I started praying right away, when I say praying I don’t mean making an elaborate prayer with a lot of words, I mean just the quiet feeling of God’s presence and peace.
That’s what I’m looking for in a woman. Maybe this is my dream of a “Princess charming” and I must accept a not-so-close-to-God king of girl and walk with her towards Him. But it gave me a lot of consolation remembering of the passage where Jesus says: “seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides”(Lc 12, 31). That’s why I don’t bother at all not having a girlfriend on this day, because I Know the one I want is very close to God’s heart and He’ll show me when its the good moment.
Talking with two of my girl friends, we came to the point of differences between sexes and I have to admit beauty attracts men but that’s not the only thing that attracts us. They were saying that sometimes(it happened more than once) when getting into a party they drew attention and men came to ask them if they were “believers” (!), as they answered yes, those same guys told them to go away cause they deserved better than what they were going to find there. That was of course an opportunity to evangelize but it shows that even those guys that were only looking for a girl to spend the night with, value women with content specially Christian ones. (Of course I’m talking about Brazilians, we still are a very Christian Country)
I can say the same for me; if I find a “princess” and I see she’s not even looking for God, if she’s not interested in prayer she’ll push me away without noticing. For that very reason I’ll not look for the “woman of my dreams” in a pub or a club. So as I know there are a lot of Catholic women looking for their “prince charming” here’s my advice for you: While caring for your beauty care for your spiritual life. Go out and have fun, but engage yourselves in the church and you’ll find the guy you’re looking for… but please leave the seminarians alone! Last but not least ask yourselves about celibacy for the Kingdom of God, even if that’s not your vocation that will make you pray and that will bring the right guy.
During this Holy Week I was working in the tech part of the retreat promoted by Shalom Community in Fortaleza. So we were broadcasting through livestream and twitcam the talks and prayer moments.
There is this moment during the prayer on the holy Saturday where I was praying as a good charismatic and I felt the inspiration to pray with the psalm 123 for it was pretty much what was said by the priest who was leading prayer at that moment, immediately I took my iphone and opened the bible app, searched the passage and prayed with it, but as I was side by side with the brother who was twitting I just passed him the passage for him to twit it. And so It happened my first twit inspired by the Holy Spirit during prayer.
After that I felt like sharing it with you so you can share with me and with others a moment where you felt really a part of our times and at the same time linked with the wonderful tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.
Yes I am Catholic, yes I’ve made promises to God in a Community of the Church, I use my Iphone to pray the liturgy of the hours and to follow the readings of the mass, I have a blog, I have a twitter account, I’m daily on Facebook and I use all this to witness my faith.
If you’re one of mine share this post or write your own, or twit something let us fill the net with witnessing so people can see how alive and filled with meaning is our Catholic faith.
“Exultet”is the opening word in Latin of The Easter Proclamation, an ancient hymn sung by the deacon over the Easter candle which is lit at the start of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening which celebrates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Exultet (aka Exsultet) appears to have been in use in the Roman Catholic Easter liturgy from between the 5th and 7th centuries.
Rejoice heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!
It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God,
the all powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin
to our eternal Father!
This is our Passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night
when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin
and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace
and grow together in holiness.
This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”
The power of this holy night
dispels all evil, washes guilt away,
restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed
when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
I know it’s a little late but the video is good.
This is the title we, in Shalom community, give to Jesus. That means a lot and I won’t be able to talk about every aspect of this title but there is one I’d like to talk about this Holy week.
Once He was risen from the dead He didn’t erase the marks of the cross. Why was that? I’m no theologian and I don’t intend to give lessons on the reasons He had, I just want to share a bit of my personal experience with this risen Christ and what it does mean to me to see and touch His glorified wounds.
Showing His glorious wounds to Saint Thomas Jesus wasn’t only confirming it was really Him; He was showing what He has been through and also His actual condition of risen. For me it sounds like: “Don’t worry if you have to pass through all this you’re passing, resurrection is waiting for you”. Or even more (and that’s what makes my soul melt), I don’t need to heal your wounds because it is thanks to them that you’re going to witness your own resurrection to your brothers. So even though you’re hurt and you feel all the pain and suffering as consequences of your own sins just know that Jesus can make out of those very same wounds signs of your resurrection for others to see His power.
Think about this before you ask for healing of your wounds(2Cor 12, 7-9). If you have to fight for patience every day remember that having this wound in you can be a sign of the power of Christ’s resurrection acting in you for the edification of your closest neighbors. During the celebrations of this holly week let us remember that all the pain and sufferings our Lord has lived aren’t in vain but they are a reminder that our wounds are also going to end up in resurrection. I’m not talking about the eternal life I’m talking here on this earth. One day we’ll be able to say to our brothers: “Here, touch this wound of mine, I was hurt by this world as you are today, but Christ is risen, He raised me up with Him and He can make you a new person just as He did with me.” Your wounds shouldn’t be the center of your attentions, neither the claim for healing the center of your prayers, let God be God and do whatever He pleases with your life and you’ll see your wounds shining as a sign of His resurrection in your life. You’ll be able to say: “I wasn’t capable of forgiving but now Christ is risen and I could forgive everyone who have hurt me one day”.
I pray that you in this Holy week can celebrate the mysteries of the death and resurrection of the Christ in a new perspective, the one of your own resurrection with Him in this life and in the hope for the next one.