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St Francis of Assisi prays:
“Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Give us a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity, so that we may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will.”
This Advent, we are called to walk with Isaiah and all the prophets, John the Baptist, with Mary and Joseph and walk with each other in preparing a way for the Lord.

Joy, Hope, and Peace

Candlelight 2015 435
Candlelight Carol // Photo: Andrew Brooks Photography

At Christmas, we are to rejoice for the gift of light has brightened our darkness. We are to believe like Isaiah, there is a place for visioning peace, joy and love in this world where the lamb will lie down with the lion.

If we continue to hope, nothing can extinguish this flame of hope, of joy and of peace. We will be able to reflect on the Silent and Holy Nights in thanksgiving and have grateful hearts for the gifts God has given us in family, friends, school, church, community and nation. We are able to sing: Joy to the World for our God loves us, blesses us and raises each of us up.

Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem and the stable were God’s way of rolling up His sleeves and getting down to earth becoming one of us, a vulnerable baby needing to be nurtured, embraced and loved.

Our God is among us for he is called “Immanuel” – God with us.We can grasp that kind of a God. I like that sort of God. He is within reach. He is close to us. My friends, our God continues to give us hope. This is why the gift of Love we have received in the birth of the Prince of Peace is the Gift we need to share.

As the Prayer of St. Francis says, “It is in giving that we receive.”

May Advent bring us patience, reconciliation and peace. May our hearts and our lives be ready to welcome the Gift of Love into our lives and our families, our friends and all the friends and family we have yet to meet.

“May all of you be instruments of peace; where there is hatred, may you sow love; where there is injury, may you show pardon; where there is doubt, build on your faith and where there is sadness may you find lasting joy!”

By Fr. Frank Critch, OFM, Mount de Sales Candlelight Carol Homily Excerpt