Jesus walked the path of suffering alone. Almost all His friends ran away. Some betrayed Him. Some denied Him. Some just stood by and watched from afar. Few who knew Him offered a helping hand.
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For Christians all over the world, meditating on the crucifix takes on an even greater significance during the season of Lent, and particularly so as we approach the holiest days of our Church year. One crucifix which lends itself to reflection on a deeply spiritual level is the one known as the San Damiano Crucifix.
Along with many other realities, the unprecedented events of the past year have brought to light highs and lows of the human condition – joys and sorrows – that we never could have foreseen. Unexpected joys, small and great, at times have been countered with sorrows ranging to the nearly unbearable. Each of us surely could recount personal experiences falling into both categories.
On December 8, 2020, Catholics around the world celebrated the beautiful feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. Each year on that date, we commemorate the singular grace bestowed upon the Mother of God, her preservation from any stain of sin from the first moment of her conception.
The best Christmas gifts are not always found under a tree rather they are discovered along the journey. This Christmas season Deacon Pat and I found ourselves homeless and alone. Our home in Viera, Florida sold miraculously in just one week without a realtor. Thirty days later we closed on our Florida home and that chapter of our life.
Soon we will celebrate Christmas, the day on which the fulfillment of the Incarnation of Jesus came to pass. By the Incarnation is meant that the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of God, while maintaining His divine nature, took on a human nature and human flesh in a sublime act of love, being born of the Virgin Mary. This profound mystery has been studied for centuries by the greatest theological minds, yet it also struck awe into the heart of one of the humblest of God’s creatures, Saint Francis of Assisi (1182 – 1226).
The world-renowned sacramental we call the Miraculous Medal has several connections that perhaps are not so well known – to the Vincentian Order for priests and brothers, to the Daughters of Charity religious Order for women, and to the city of Philadelphia. Exploring how these fit together hopefully will help us celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on November 27th with a renewed understanding that will be pleasing to her.
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