Strength between her and the world

December 23

There was no room for them within the inn.

And Joseph turned away.

To find again,

A woman wrapped in silence. Had she heard?

No sign appeared, nor stir of tranquil veil

To tell of it.

But Joseph knew. And silence and the glance

That smiled at him could not shut out the need

   For shelter that was yet unsaid. He knew!

And suddenly it rose in him again

What it was he knew, and what was here

Beseeching in the night. An innocence

That had been burnished flawless to return

All brightness, till the Inexhaustible

Had searched for her this last and utter grace

That left no more to give.

… Like blessedness that had not been before…

And he was guardian. Guardian!

Whose task to fear not, but to throw his life

About her as a cloak. To be a strength

Between her and the world’s uncertainties.

To fend, and guard, and break the fall of harsh


He had not thought refusal was a word

Remaining in a language that had held

Her name.

(Excerpted from A Woman Wrapped in Silence By John W. Lynch)

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Joseph’s eyes were hopeful

December 22

A little while,

And then the day was slipping down behind

The dark, and clung there, like a crystal drop…

O, was there here some haste

That pushed the light more hurriedly, as if

This were an ending era, and the last

Of days? …

Then suddenly, the road

Was turning, and ahead, some clustered roofs…

He turned,

And called to her: “Mary. It is here.

This is Bethlehem.

So now he pulled the bridle on a path

Well worn, ahead of him.

…A fire and feel that there were others near.

A kind of courtyard, square, but with a roof

Around the edges, and a gate to close…

Joseph’s eyes were hopeful as he stood

To wait an answer. Then he heard them say,

There was no room for them within the inn.

(Excerpted from A Woman Wrapped in Silence By John W. Lynch)

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“I-Dosing” on Binaural Beats can Produce a Hellish High

CH writes: “My son who is in 8th grade just told me about a horrible Demonic thing some kids are doing called ‘Gate of Hades’. I don’t know if you ever heard of this, but I Googled it and was disgusted by what I saw. I would like to share this with you so you can warn other parents about this.”

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To Bethlehem

December 21

A Christmas Journey of Prayer

Then the word came with the iron

Of empire forged in it:…

Of enrollment. Lands and provinces,

They’d said, and men and citizens and slaves.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…to be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child.

And then,

A door was closed behind them, and the sound

Was loud in isolated emphasis

Against the stillness and the dawn’s cold fog…

A woolen shawl

And wrappings clutched together for the cold

Enveloped her…

A final glance had shut away this house

That had been hers, the echo of her movement

Fades to silence…

It’s true enough, that they had often stopped,

And she had gone, as one among the rest

Of women then to find relief against

The road’s fatigues, and when the fires were made,

She worked among them in the fading day.

Did they not know? Could they not feel the nearness?

…The Source? Already, some unheld reflection

Of the questing light that was to rest

Forever in His eyes, looked out from hers

As answering, she said: “To Bethlehem.”

(Excerpted from A Woman Wrapped in Silence By John W. Lynch)

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Controversy Grows Over Same Sex Blessing Declaration

The issuing of the declaration entitled, Fiducia supplicans, by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) on December 18 was meant to open the door to allow same-sex couples to receive a form of blessing in the Church, but many experts say it is opening the door to a great deal of confusion and controversy as well.

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A Centuries-old Christmas Present from Saint Francis of Assisi to the World

Chapel of the first live nativity in Greccio, Italy (Photo courtesty of Wikicommons Images , Fiat500e, CC BY 4.0 DEED)

by Theresa Cavicchio, OFS

For the many Franciscans around the world of the First, Second, and Third Orders – clerical, religious, and lay – the year 2023 inaugurated a series of important 8th-centenaries which will culminate in 2026. For our purposes, the timeliest of these has a deep spiritual significance as we approach Christmas this year.

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“The New Cosmology” and Environmental Extremism

CZ writes: “A woman who used to minister at our local Catholic retreat house recently died. Her obit talks about having spent the last ten years in teaching “the New Cosmology.” What is that? Just from the sound of it, I am sure it is not in accord with Catholicism and church teaching.”

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