Dear Friends in Christ,
Today, in every nation on earth, the Church rejoices that in Jesus Christ and by his victory over sin and death the Kingdom of God has come among us: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5.12)
One week from today is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a New Year of Grace, and I encourage everyone to make New Liturgical Year’s Resolutions to help strengthen your dedication to the Lord Jesus and his holy Church. For example, you could resolve to pray each day a part of the Liturgy of the Hours, and a very good way to learn to do this is to come at 5 pm on the four Sundays of Advent for Vespers. You could also resolve to go to Confession more often, to volunteer to serve someone in need, to give more generously to the poor, and to practice the ancient discipline of lectio divina — meditative reading of a few verses of Holy Scripture.
Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. This was the conclusion of St. Jerome (born 347 and died 420) who translated the entire Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, and this is the solemn teaching of the Catholic Church. As the Letter to the Hebrews has it: “the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4.12), and that is why every Christian must know and love the Holy Scriptures from personal prayer and study.
To to help everyone have a richer experience of reading, studying and praying with Holy Scripture, we are offering an Advent morning of recollection on Saturday 6 December 2014. We will begin with Mass at 8.30 am and then, after a coffee break, have three conferences in Gallivan Hall. There is no cost to attend, and this is a splendid opportunity for all to learn more deeply why “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3.16). So, please consult the e-bulletin for more information and plan now to join us on Saturday 6 December to learn “How to Read the Bible.”
Finally, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception — the patronal feast of the Church in the United States — is on Monday 8 December, and it is a holy day of obligation, meaning that all Catholics are bound to attend unless impeded by illness or absolutely essential work. We will have three Masses on 8 December: 7 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm.