Articles for Advent

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

December 8, 2021

  Founded on December 8, 1873, Conception Abbey celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception today as our special patronal feast. Other monasteries are certainly older than we are, but we have our own unique story. This feast day reminds us to reflect on the many possibilities behind the word “chosen.” First of all, our…

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Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

December 7, 2021

  Imagine you conducted a survey among willing adults and asked only this one question: “what is your basic image of God?” What image of God would predominate? Many factors could shape their answers. Therefore, it’s too simple to say that if a person sees God as a hard, demanding taskmaster, it’s because as a…

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Monday of the Second Week of Advent

December 6, 2021

  The prophets and poets of the Old Testament were master wordsmiths. What could be more beautiful than the Prophet Isaiah describing the desert blooming and rejoicing to greet the Israelites as they returned from exile?          The desert and the parched land will exult;          the steppe will…

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Second Sunday of Advent

December 5, 2021

    Waiting is the hard part. The whole season of Advent has a forward movement as we wait for what Scriptures call the fullness of time. That term is vague enough to leave us wondering what it truly means and yet the word fullness suggests powerful images. Think of the contented smile of a…

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Saturday of the First Week of Advent

December 4, 2021

  As we near the second Sunday of Advent, there is an important question we need to ask ourselves, have we gone out to the lost sheep? In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his apostles to go out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. These were those who had been lost because of…

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Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, Priest

December 3, 2021

  “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” How many of us, if we heard this, would get nervous? I would. Do I really have faith? Is it at least as big as a mustard seed? Yesterday we said we must live by faith. How do we do that? If we take…

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Thursday of the First Week of Advent

December 2, 2021

  Where do we place our trust? Think for a moment when deciding where do you put the majority of your trust? Do you trust yourself the most? Or is it a spouse? Maybe a trusted friend? Is it a movement? Or perhaps, no one? Do you have trust in anything? Trust, or faith, is…

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Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

December 1, 2021

  For ages, the people of Israel waited to see the coming of the messiah. This messiah was to lead Israel to freedom, to lead all the nations to the Temple to worship, and he was to bring healing to those who suffer. In Jesus is that messiah. He has indeed come and set people…

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Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

November 30, 2021

  The apostles were called by Christ to be men of passion and commitment. They were to be Christ’s very representatives on earth. They were to be Christ coming into the nations; this is what the word apostle means—to be another Christ! In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, we hear words of encouragement to…

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Monday of the First Week of Advent

November 29, 2021

  Israel, founded on God’s promise to Abraham, was given the same promises as Abraham. Namely, they would be a great nation, that Abraham would receive a great name, and they would become a great blessing to all the nations. This third promise is critical. Israel’s vocation was to be in such an intimate relationship…

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First Sunday of Advent

November 28, 2021

  Advent is a time of hopeful waiting. Waiting for Christ to come to us as the child in the manger. Waiting for Christ to come as the healer, consoler, friend, and Lord. Advent is a time of waiting for promises to be kept. In the opening lines of today’s first reading, we hear, “The…

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Thursday in the Fourth Week of Advent

December 24, 2020

  Several years ago the Ministerial Alliance’s clothing and food pantry in Stanberry, Missouri was getting vandalized in the back alley. One of the ministers suggested putting up cameras. Considering our modest budget, I recommended installing motion-activated lights instead. Sure enough, once the new lights were installed, the shenanigans stopped. Today is the last of…

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Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

December 23, 2020

  People have trouble with my religious name. Shocking, I know… Frequently when I meet someone new, he will ask what my name means. I understand it is exotic; still, I did not take my name for its definition but for the patron saint. At the time I proposed it to the abbot, I had…

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Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

December 22, 2020

  The Greeks had a goddess named Nemesis. She was the god of retribution – specifically pouring out wrath for human hubris against the gods. Nemesis has many attributes to describe how she works: scales to weigh deeds against punishment, a scourge to chastise, and a bridle to rein in the self-exalted. She is the…

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

December 21, 2020

  When I was recently at my home parish, the priest asked me if I could recommend a book explaining some basic Catholic art because he feared people did not understand what was in the church. Unfortunately today we have access to much information yet are illiterate when it comes to Christian symbols. A consequence…

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 20, 2020

  I know these days during the pandemic, many of us are tired of being in our houses. Yet this reality of sheltering in a safe place speaks to the power of the personal domicile. A house, a home, is a powerful thing. Even if you are a world traveler and revel in seeing new…

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Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

December 19, 2020

  Not many people in our society really give a second thought about a married couple, even one advanced in years, who are without children. But, during Elizabeth’s time, her experience of barrenness was a disgrace before others. She shouldered a great personal burden characteristic of all women who desire to have a child, but…

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Friday of the Third Week of Advent

December 18, 2020

  Joseph receives God’s message from the angel in a dream. The Lord’s promise to Ahaz will be fulfilled through the Virgin Mary: “The Virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.” About seven hundred years after Isaiah’s prophecy, God’s salvation is brought forth in the person of Jesus Christ.…

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Thursday of the Third Week in Advent

December 17, 2020

  Some priests are scared about having to proclaim the varied and difficult names that appear in the genealogy Gospel. Though there has been a resurgence in family lineage in recent years, most people today do not find Matthew’s introduction all that captivating. While the text isn’t in the style of a narrative that we…

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Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

December 16, 2020

  The Prophet Isaiah emphasizes the greatness of the Lord God and the foolishness of placing our trust in any other gods— “I am the LORD, there is no other.” Throughout salvation history, God performed powerful signs and wonders and saved His people, yet they turned from Him again and again. God’s presence is readily…

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Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

December 15, 2020

  When I was in high school, my Mom would leave us a short to-do list, with some simple chores to do while she was away running errands. It was nothing complicated, but just some basic tasks with which my brothers and I agreed to help out. I remember how we would put it off,…

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Memorial of St John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church

December 14, 2020

  God surely couldn’t work through me, could He? Many of us have uttered, or at least thought of, some version of the statement above. It’s an admission of how we feel inadequate, insignificant, and altogether fallible. Two things can be true at the same time: We can readily acknowledge our human weakness, and God…

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Third Sunday of Advent

December 13, 2020

    Recently someone who was mourning the loss of a loved one came to me and asked: “Father, several months have gone by and I am still grieving and hurting—is this revealing that my faith is weak and that I’m not entrusting my loved one to God?” Our liturgy for the Third Sunday of…

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Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12, 2020

  Book of revelation A great sign appeared – a woman clothed with the sun. and the moon was under her feet…. on her head a crown of twelve stars. The prophet Zechariah states that many nations shall join themselves to the Lord. They shall be his people. And God will dwell among you. Mary…

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Friday of the Second Week of Advent

December 11, 2020

  Let’s make a quick return to that opening collect from Sunday, where we ask God to “remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy.” I have always thought of this as a wonderful expression of our Advent longings, that we ask God to remove those things that keep us from receiving…

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Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

December 10, 2020

“I will” – “I do” – “I am” – “I am, with the help of God” Three responses we hear from the lips of those exchanging marriage vows and making the promises that come in the rites of ordination or religious profession. Today it is God making the promise – I WILL Fear not I…

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Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

December 9, 2020

  Almost from the beginning of Advent, we begin to hear again and again of the promises to Israel for deliverance. The prophecies of Isaiah speak eloquently to the promise of redemption: give comfort to my people; speak tenderly to Jerusalem, proclaim that her service is at an end; fear not, your God comes to…

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Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

December 8, 2020

  In 1854 Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception to be a dogma of our faith, long-held sacred and celebrated over the centuries. Mary, the Immaculate Conception is Patroness of the Church in the United States, of our own diocese and the name of the Cathedral in Kansas City. The naming of two local…

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Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

December 7, 2020

  “A highway will be there, called the holy way… and on it, the redeemed will walk.” After Jesus cured the paralytic, the man picked up his mat and went home, praising God. During Advent, we focus on our journey to and with the Lord. We await Jesus’ journeying to us, the Lord’s coming. We…

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Second Sunday of Advent

December 6, 2020

  In the collect for today’s Mass, we pray: “Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son.” An earlier version put it this way asking God to “remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy.” Both versions get at something basic…

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Saturday of the First Week in Advent

December 5, 2020

  Today’s Gospel accumulates what I have been saying all week. It says, “Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, ‘Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out…

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Friday of the First Week in Advent

December 4, 2020

  Today our theme of being missionaries and having faith continues. Today we see the miracle of Jesus curing the blind men. Jesus asks them, “Do you believe that I can do this? ‘Yes, Lord,’ they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘Let it be done for you according to your…

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Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, Priest

December 3, 2020

  Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, patron saint of missionaries. On Monday I said that we are called this Advent Season to be missionaries, and as St. Francis Xavier says “When trying to evangelize, no tool is more effective than that of personal witness…People can argue with points of doctrine but no…

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Wednesday of the First Week in Advent

December 2, 2020

  Today in the Gospel, we hear about the story of the loaves and the fish. Jesus took seven loaves and a few fish and multiplied them to a crowd of about 4,000, and the disciples picked up seven baskets full left over. If you noticed in the Gospel, they were in a deserted place.…

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Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

December 1, 2020

  I remember my mom telling me her “annunciation” story. Mom was pregnant with my sister Lauren. My crazy, fun-loving sister is high-functioning autistic. The doctor asked my mom if she wanted to do a special sonogram that could detect any abnormalities that the baby could have, and my mom said to the doctor, straightforward,…

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Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

November 30, 2020

  Probably two of my favorite passages are referenced on this feast of St. Andrew. The first from our first reading, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” and Jesus telling Andrew and Peter (Simon), “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” I see an equation…

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First Sunday of Advent

November 29, 2020

  Thank you for joining us for the Advent edition of the Online Spiritual Journey. Over the next few weeks, we will prepare our hearts for the birth of our Savior. We invite you to join us, as we offer daily reflections and Sunday videos. In the secular world, Advent may seem to mean we…

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