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And what is it that begins with Advent Sunday? This first portion of the Church Year—from Advent to Easter and Pentecost—represents the mystery-drama of the life of Christ but also symbolizes the continual spiritual journey of each one of us.
If we experience the progression of the Church Year with conscious attention and a desire to deepen our growth, the meaning and purpose of each week’s focus can affect all of our daily life. Each year, this cycle of Epistle and Gospel readings, intents, different prayers, symbolic colors used on the altar, hymns chosen for each Sunday’s theme, and so on, can be an enriching influence on the depth and integration of our spiritual growth.
Advent Sunday gives us a wonderfully encouraging message. The Epistle reading includes an admonition to “awake out of sleep,” but then quickly assures us that this awakening is nearer than we think, that “the day is at hand.”
Christmas is a time of special outpouring of spiritual energy. The four Sundays of Advent are meant to prepare us spiritually for that great influx of grace. The birth of Christ—and the awakening of the Christ nature within us—is the recognition of God’s eternal and immense Love for all of us and for all that exists.
Advent is a time of joyous anticipation as well as preparation. It’s an opportunity to live through these holiday weeks with a rekindling of our awareness of the deepest meaning and purpose of Christmas. It has the chance of awakening a fullness of joy that can enhance and expand the heartwarming holiday connections and generosity typical of this season. It is a profound gift available to anyone who opens mind and heart to what the Advent season offers.
We warmly invite you to join us at St. Gabriel and All Angels, if you are able, for the four Sundays of Advent—November 30, December 7, 14, and 21—at 10:15 a.m. to experience this beautiful preparation for Christmas and the spiritual depth of the Holy Eucharist.
The quarterly journal of The Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States. Archive of issues beginning Advent 2011. Click the issue link to download or view online.
I believe that the suppression of emotion is one of the main culprits is keeping our inherent spiritual nature root-bound. By now it is commonplace to know about the medical and health benefits of "a good cry", but other lingering social conventions (and even spiritual teachings!) denigrate the natural feeling of sadness and the shedding of tears. (see: Health Benefits of Tears)
Of course most of us would prefer to feel joy, but denying, suppressing, or avoiding sad feelings when they naturally arise is a sure way to prolong the lessons and healing that stand before us. Rather than assuming an attitude of feeling joyful when healing is needed first, wisdom suggests that we find a way to accept the cup that has come to us. But remember, while we must do our own healing (ultimately an interior process), we need not do it alone. continue reading
Absolution, one of the Seven Sacraments of the church catholic, comes from the Latin root words ab solvo, which mean "to loosen". This Sacrament is intended to help the person to discontinue from erroneous behavior, but, as, or more important, to be relieved and disconnected from the downheartedness and guilt that perpetuate of such behavior. Absolution provides an important feature in the life of the spiritual aspirant.
Absolution has commonly become known in just one of it's forms - confession - the telling of one's sins to a priest. The Liberal Catholic Church offers two additional, traditional forms of the Sacrament of Absolution. continue reading
''Those who take their religion seriously commonly go through a period, sometimes a
long period, when they experience the apparent absence of God. The ideas, images,
concepts which they have previously used in thinking about God or addressing him
have suddenly become meaningless and unreal.
The person feels as if God is absent or does not exist. The reason for this disagreeable
phenomenon is ... continue reading
"The Spirit of God blows out from us so that we can love and perform good acts. Then he draws us into ourselves so that we can take rest and find enjoyment in him. This is eternal life: not unlike our breathing the air out of our lungs and breathing in fresh air. What I mean is: we move inwardly in a mystical enjoyment and move outwardly in good works, both in communion with God. Just as we open our eyes, look and then close them again, in such a smooth transition that we hardly notice what we are doing, so we die in God and live out of God, always remaining united to him."
"In the abyss of this darkness, in which the loving spirit has
died to itself, there begin the manifestation of God and eternal
life. For in this darkness there shines and is born an
incomprehensible Light, which is the Son of God, in Whom we behold
eternal life. And in this Light one becomes seeing; and this
Divine Light is given to the simple sight of the spirit, where the
spirit receives the brightness which is God Himself, above all
gifts and every creaturely activity, in the idle emptiness in
which the spirit has lost itself through love which attains an
external goal, and where it receives without means the
brightness of God, and is changed without interruption into
that brightness which it receives."
The fundamental energy of Christ’s church is compassionate love - His love for us, our love for Him, and our love for Him in our neighbors. So it is not surprising to find that prayers for the support of those in need play an important part in virtually all Christian services. But they play an especially significant role in the Eucharist of the apostolic churches. continue reading