Preparing the Manger of Your Heart

The Advent Season is upon us, and the call is to “watch and pray.” One way to make fruitful this time of holy anticipation is to prepare the manger of our heart for the coming of our Lord and King.

To that end, let me recommend a couple of great resources we have available for you. On the Women of Grace homepage ( we are featuring two Advent retreats on CD — one by Dr. Edward Sri and the other by Father Edmund Sylvia. Both of these offerings will take you deeply into the heart of the season and fill you with wonder at the gift that is ours through the Christ Child

Another great resource certain to enhance your Advent experience is Issue #4 of the Women of Grace Journal.  You can use this independently and it is a fabulous Advent study for your Women of Grace study group. It truly encourages us to enter deeply into the reality of this blessed season by calling us into the sacred mysteries of our Faith. For those of you who are Gold Members of WOG Exclusive, it is available in the library. Simply type “Women of Grace Journal” into the search feature and scroll to Issue #4. It is also available in print and can be ordered through our on-line store or by calling us at 1-800-558-5452.

I am confident that if we enter into this glorious liturgical season and let it enter into us by means of prayer and retreat, Christmas Day will be a graced event like never before.

Let’s remember each other in our petitions and ask God to give us all holy anticipation for the coming of our Savior.

The Last Things

“God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1037

For Reflection:
This teaching of the Church implies that we choose hell for ourselves. Am I in mortal sin? In light of the fact that no one knows when he will be called from this life, what need I do?

“And A Child Shall Lead Them…”

Earlier this week I was in Houston visiting my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.  I attended my third annual Grandparents Day at my granddaughter’s school. It is a lovely affair that begins with a breakfast, followed by entertainment courtesy of the music department, and concluding with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Carmen and I look foward to it every year and it is becoming a sweet tradition we share.

One of the great blessings in my life is being a grandparent. These little ones teach me so much. Take Carmen, for example. She became a big sister on May 1 when her baby brother, Matthew Anthony, was born. I have seen so many beautiful qualities developing in her since that time. Virtues, really.

Carmen treats Matthew with patience, kindness, thoughtfulness. Much to his delight, she gleefully rushes to him when she sees him after school. She plays with him, dotes on him, and tells everyone she meets that he is her baby brother. Plain and simple, she loves him.

Frankly, I wondered how Carmen would handle his arrival. She had been an only child for five years and very accustomed to Mommy’s and Daddy’s full attention. I’ve witnessed other situations where older only children have not been very welcoming to a new sibling. But, Matthew’s birth has enriched her personhood and enhanced her lovely feminine graces.

Change can do that. It holds the possibility for us to expand as persons, grow in virtue, develop as individuals. Change can help us discover character strengths we never knew we had and bring to the surface latent talents and gifts. I suppose it really depends on attitude and openness of heart: an attitude of gratitude for that which God is entrusting to us, and an openness of heart  to explore the opportunities the change may hold.

I don’t think Carmen thought about any of these things when she learned she was going to become a big sister. With childlike simplicity, she simply embraced the idea.

This has taught me a lot. And given me pause for reflection. Maybe you, too. To what extent do I embrace change with an attitude of gratitude and with openness of heart? I know one thing — I will be thinking of Carmen the next time a change comes my way.







The Last Things

“In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1029

For Reflection:
How does this teaching of the Church correlate to her teaching on the communion of saints? How have I personally experienced the reality and truth of this statement? Do I look forward to being a saint and “reigning with Christ” by being of assistance to other men and all creation?
(See tomorrow’s Grace Line for one saint who planned on it!)

The Last Things

“Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1023

For Reflection:
What do I think it will be like to behold God face-to-face? Do I have an interior hunger to do so?