For all ages
Every Friday during LENT there are Stations of the Cross at 7:00pm at St. Francis Xavier Church.
If you are not able to go in person.... here are 3 opportunities to pray them at home.
Here are 3 versions of the Stations of the Cross. The first one is for kids, the second one takes you to the actual places in the Holy Land and the 3rd has some very deep reflections for adults.
Family project... to help keep you on track
Reflections......for the journey
This week’s Gospel journey continues to demonstrate Jesus was the champion of knowing how to love. In fact, with everything he did was to show us how we to truly love and that we belong to each other. Jesus did not come to just spend time with the popular, Jesus loved all. He has tried to show us that true love is more than a feeling. It is a deep yearning for what is best for the other. He showed this by who he called to be his first disciples,and those he encounters on the way to the cross. This week we look at the story of Jesus healing the person with leprosy. Jesus was so kind and tender with someone who most people would avoid in fear. The man had faith in Jesus. He healed his body and his dignity. Jesus was all about showing love and respect for all. Who might Jesus be using us to reach out in love? Do the people around us know they are loved by us and more importantly God? How can we be champions of love and follow the way Jesus taught us? One of my favorite pictures of Pope Francis is when he tenderly hugs the man who has worts on his face. We belong to each other.
This Week's Prayer:
Using the Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 Every time you see the word Love replace it with your name or someone you want to pray for ( or both) Try doing this at least once a day until St. Valentines Day.
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love does not envy, Love does not boast, Love
is not proud. Love is not rude, Love is not self seeking, Love is not easily angered, Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes.
and Love always perseveres. Love never fails.
Ash Wednesday is February 17
Masses are at 8:00am and 6:30pm
Service at 4:00pm
Extra Confession time on Mondays at 6:00pm-7:00Pm starting 2/22
Stations of the Cross every Friday at 7:00 pm starting 2/19
Families with Children in grade k- 4:
This week we focus on LOVE and the season of LENT. Two great things that go together like chocolate chip cookies and milk:)
We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to help us cleanse of mistakes and do better with God's love! A special prayer we need to learn is called the Act of Contrition. It is when we say sorry to God for what we have done wrong.
We pray this during the Sacrament of Reconciliation but we can pray it every day.
Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent starts next week.
For Families with kids in grades 5-7:
This week we are continuing the journey with Jesus as he teaches us the REAL meaning of LOVE. Jesus teaches us that we are all connected and called to Love. Love is more than a feeling. REAL LOVE is when you look out for others and want what is best for them. REAL LOVE includes everyone. Real Love is when you truly want what is best for someone else. Jesus suffered and died for our sins because he Loves us. Jesus reached out and extended his LOVE to all. Love is patient, LOVE is kind. This week's Gospel is how Jesus healed a man with the disease of Leprosy. Someone with this disease was an outcast because it was contagious.
Next Wednesday starts the Season of LENT with Ash Wednesday.......some reminders below on what Lent is about!
For families with YOUTH in grades 8-12:
This week's theme could not be better timed..... God's Love and compassion for all. (Perfect for Valentines DAY).Jesus is the GOAT! ( greatest of all time). What are examples of Jesus showing us how to Love? How do we imitate Jesus? Do we show the love
of God theough our actions? We also have to start thinking about LENT. ( YES, it begins next WEDNESDAY 2/17)
This week we hear more about Jesus performing miracles and one mentioned in more detail was Jesus heals Simon’s mother in- law that was suffering from an illness that caused her to have a fever.
When was the last time you cared for someone who was sick.... was it a child, a parent or a friend, maybe it is someone you don’t even know, or maybe it was yourself. In all the commotion and uncertainty do we forget to do the obvious? Pray? Ask others to pray? Do we forget to trust Jesus?Or is it the only time we pray?
Jesus is there to take care of all our needs...He often takes care of things we don’t even know need healing. Sometimes he doesn’t answer our prayer in the the way we ask. We need to trust in the way Jesus responds. Jesus heals. Jesus heals our broken hearts. Jesus can heal broken relationships, Jesus can heal our broken thoughts. Jesus will help us through whatever is our issue. Sometimes he takes away the struggle and sometimes he asks certain people to unite their struggle with his. Mother Teresa said. “ Pain and suffering have come into your life but remember pain, sorrow, and suffering are but a kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close to Him that he can kiss you.”
Now take a moment to ask Jesus for healing through the Sacrament of the Sick. Please share this opportunity with others. This is a Sacrament that you can receive more than once and you do not have to be dying. This is asking to be healed in any way that you need to be.
For Families with children in grades k-4:
This week’s focus continues to be on Jesus and healings. Jesus performed many miracles . People started to believe He was God’s son.
Since we are now in the month of February- here is something fun you can make to help you learn more scripture. Be sure to look them up in your beautiful new Bibles! YOU CAN FIND THE LINK TO PRINT SCRIPTURE AT CATHOLIC ICING AND SEARCH St. Valentine’s countdown.
For Families with kids in grades 4-7: Since this week’s focus continues on Jesus’s ministry and healing we will unpack scene below as we imagine being at Simon Peter’s house near the sea of Galilee. Imagine you were one of the crowd that wanted Jesus to heal you or a friend.
Jesus gives us two Sacraments of healing. We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the sick. Both of these Sacrament can be received more than once.
During the month of February ( and every month) let us look for ways we can offer comfort to others. Is there someone you know that is struggling with something? How can we spread love this month? One idea is to reach out to those in our neighborhood that may need encouragement...or make a card for those isolated in Nursing homes.
For Families with youth in grades 8-12:
This week we continue the journey with Jesus as he ministers to the people and healings are happening! The crowd that follows him is growing.
What kinds of things do people your age sometimes struggle with in their lives? What kinds of things need healing?
Below is a skit that dramatizes struggles a
person can have. To set the scene “ JESUS” is dressed
in white and HE brings life to the young lady and establishes relationship. The distractions come and separate her from JESUS.
How can we stay close to Jesus with so much distractions?
What are some ways we can keep the relationship stronger than the distractions?
Welcome to the Fourth week of Ordinary time. I happen to think that some very extraordinary things happen in ordinary time if you pay attention. Miracles are abundant in ordinary time in the liturgical calendar readings and in our own ordinary days of our lives. We should look with wonder and excitement as we do all the special days and seasons. May our hearts not be hardened but open to the grace of every new day and miracle.
May GOD give us the grace to stay close to him and open to HIS miracles all around us. Harden not our hearts.
For Families with kids in K-4th grade: This week we look at how Jesus lead by serving others and even performing miracles! We know and can trust in the authority of Jesus !
For families with children in grades 5-7: This week we learn about Jesus's authority. What does "Authority" mean? According to the dictionary authority means," the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience." This week Jesus commands evil spirits to leave a person. The evil spirits recognize Jesus as a authority and obey. It sounds like a scary story but it should give us comfort knowing that nothing is impossible for God!
God is stronger than evil. The video below helps us learn a great way to read scripture and pray with God's word. He gives us all the help we will ever need if we know how to look and listen. Help us to be more than amazed by God but to trust fully in HIS plans for us.
For Families with Youth in grades 8-12:
This week 's Gospel continues with the call of the first disciples. John the Baptist had been put in prison. Jesus begins his public preaching and the first disciples start to follow him. They become hooked on Jesus. They leave their safe and secure lives to follow Jesus. They trust and they follow. Talk about change! Their lives will never be the same. What does Jesus ask us to do to follow Jesus? Are we willing to trust and follow?
For this week's musical reflection and prayer. Answer this question as if Jesus was singing to your heart.
For Families with kids in grade k-4: This week we will think about what it means to follow Jesus. People who follow Jesus are called "disciples". What do you do to follow Jesus? How would someone know that you are friends with Jesus?
Brainstorm ways you can follow Jesus and make a craft to remind you and others!
For Families with kids in grades 5- 7: This week we focus on the first disciples ( in the past) and the disciples of the present. What does it mean to follow Jesus?
Imagine getting the Jesus Memo ( or text) It gives us things to think about.
For Families with YOUTH in grades 8-12: This week is all about who you follow? If Jesus was on Instagram would you follow him? Would you read his Tweets? Would you friend him on Facebook? Are you a disciple of JESUS? Do you follow him?
Let's start this with a little humor........
Let our prayer be to follow Jesus and to encourage one another when we are struggling to keep the faith and stay close to HIM.
This week there is so much to unpack in the scriptures. The first reading is when the Lord called Samuel while he was sleeping. At first he thought it was the prophet Eli calling him but he came to realize it was the Lord and his response was “ Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”.How many times to we not recognize when God is trying to get our attention.
Have you ever spent time talking to God and it seems like sometimes our prayers can ramble on? How much time do we spend time listening for God’s response?Maybe a good practice this week is to spend more time listening to what God wants to speak to our hearts.
The Gospel asks us the question....What are we searching for? Who are we searching for? Are we looking for Jesus or have we gotten distracted?
You can find Mass at our local Catholic Church ... St Francis Xavier at Mass ( www.sfxnewmilford.org) and online Masses ortv on Sunday at 10:00am and various other online Masses Youtube Fr. Mike Schmitz at 10:00am on Sunday.
For families with children in grades k-4:
:For Families with you grades 5-7:
For Families with youth in grades 8-12:
Welcome to the week of Reflection on the Baptism of the Lord. While we think about the significance of this event, try to think about your own baptism, many of us were infants but some are older. This very personal day should be remembered as our spiritual birthday. Look up when you were baptized,if you don’t know the date. Put it in your calendar as a day to be celebrated. This very day begins our journey of faith and we receive the first infusion of the Holy Spirit. It leaves an indelible mark on our very soul.
Did you ever wonder why it was important for God’s son to be Baptized?
Here is one more short reflection on the importance of this day... the reflection was made for 2019 but the message is timeless. Following the reflection, I invite you to renuew your own baptismal vows with your family. I can’t think of a better way to start the new year.
Now gather everyone in your household to renew their Baptismal vows and sincerely begin a new year.
For families with children in grades K-4:
This week we remember the day that JESUS was baptized? Do you remember your baptism? ( Probably not because you might have been very young) Do you know what the date was when you were baptized? Ask your parents. Do you know who are your Godparents?
Some of you may not have attended a baptism of someone else yet. Here is a baby being baptized and the Priest explains everything that is happening.
A fun way to learn for me, has always been thru music. Here is a song someone made about the Sacrament of Baptism.
For families with children in grades 5-7:
This week our focus is on when JESUS was Baptized. We also think about the importance of the very first Sacrament we are invited to receive. Do you know the date of your Baptism? Ask your parents to look it up. Ask your parents why they brought you to be baptized? This is also a good time to reflect on the promises made and to renew those promises.
Even today people visit the Jordan River where JESUS was baptized. The link below gives you a visual tour of this Holy place.
Next we have the opportunity to learn more about the catholic tradition of Baptizing children and renewing our vows to God.
For Families with YOUTH in grades 8-12:
This week we celebrate Jesus’s Baptism and reflect on our own baptism and what that means? Do you know the date of your Baptism? Ask your parents if you don’t know. What if you celebrated that day like you do your birthday?
No doubt 2020 was not the easiest year we have had in history. How are you doing.... for real? It’s okay not to be ok. Lean on your family and friends. Lean on the LORD. If nothing else has been been learned is that God is the constant. God has the answers. God is the stability in unstable situations. He does not change and he is close to us. He is not socially distant. I pray that if today finds you struggling that you reach out to God and accept the help he offers... it may come in unexpected ways thru direct insight, people, situations that pop up and thoughts. Pray for the openness of heart to receive the always timely help. Here is a video from Fr. Mike Schmitz that may trigger answers to doubts about the changes we all have been facing.
This week we celebrate two special days... On January 1 we celebrate The Solemnity of Mary. Listen to the beautiful reflection below and think about how we spread the love of God to others.
Hope you had an amazing celebration of Christmas week... on Sunday-we remember the Epiphany of the Lord!
The dictionary defines Epiphany in literature as when the character has a realization. In this week’s celebration we recall when the 3 Kings had a realization thru a dream to change their course. We too
can experience an Epiphany when we are open to God’s direction in our lives.
Another Tradition connected to the Epiphany of the Lord is a house blessing: They say to put a sign in your doorway representing the visit of the 3 KINGS. 20+c+m+b+21 May God bless your house!
May we always have eyes to see the star and where God may be leading us. We are all like the Kings searching to give our gifts.
For Kids in grades k-4:
We are celebrating two special things this week. First on January 1 it is a special day for the Blessed Mother and then on Sunday we remember the 3 Kings that visited Jesus by following the star.
For kids in grades 5-7 and their families:
January 3 is the Feast of the Epiphany, sometimes called "Three Kings Day," and starts what some consider to be the Season of or after Epiphany, continuing until Ash Wednesday. In some cultures, January 6 is a large and festive end to the Christmas season; a day of presents, parades, and celebration. Epiphany is an invitation to follow stars, listen to dreams, and step out of what we have always known. The Gospel of Matthew tells us this is the day the magi ("kings") arrived in Bethlehem, directed by angels and guided by a star, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. Gold symbolized Jesus as a king. Frankincense and myrrh are sweet-smelling resins that were burned as sacred offerings and during burials. The magi go home by another road. Little else is known about them, although a robust tradition has grown around them over time, including their number (three) and their names (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar). This holy mystery invites us to wonder who the magi are and how their sacred story intersects with our own. Who or what is leading you to God incarnate? Which stars will you follow this year and what road will you take? What gifts will you offer?
Matthew 2:1-12 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this he was frightened and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem; for it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” They set out and ahead of them went the star they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
On Epiphany, consider participating in an ancient tradition known as "Chalking the Door." This practice consists of marking a blessing in chalk in a specific pattern of letters and numbers, to invite God's blessing on a home, church, or other entryway, and on all who enter its doors during the year. All you need is chalk and a doorway. The markings are usually made above the front door or main entrance, in this pattern:
20 + C + M + B + 21
The numbers change each year to reflect the new calendar year. The letters C, M, and B are given two meanings: the initials of the traditional names of the three magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, and the initials of the Latin phrase Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which means, “Christ bless this dwelling.” The + signs are for the Cross of Christ. Before, during, or after the chalking of the door, the following prayer might be offered:
O God of Stars and Journeys, we ask your blessing on this threshold. May all whose journeys lead them through these doors be blessed with health, generosity of spirit, a joyful heart, and deep peace. O God of Welcome, may all who enter this doorway rejoice to find Christ living among us, and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is the incarnate Word, now and forever. Amen.
Seeing the symbols over our door during the year remind us, even as life goes back to a regular routine after Christmas, that our homes and all those who dwell there belong to Christ. They are also reminders of the welcome the magi gave to Jesus. Who might we welcome into our hearts this coming year? With time the chalk will fade. As it does, we let the meaning of the written symbols sink into the depths of our hearts and manifest in our words and actions.
O God Among Us, may we be visited by angels, may we follow stars, may we bring the gifts we have to offer. May we embrace the journey and travel in love. May Christ bless our homes and find a home in our hearts throughout the year.
- written by Rev. Jennifer McNally, Family ministries at St. Ann’s in Minnosota
For youth in grades 8-12 and their families:
Merry Christmas! This week we celebrate Christmas on Friday and on Sunday the Holy Family!! So much to be thankful for as we remember kept promises! God is with us!
For Family all ages and people not necessarily related by blood!
For younger children especially- One of my family’s favorite on Christmas Eve was to read “ Timmy’s gift” ...here it is in a video and there are lessons for all ages. We also read the scriptures on the the Nativity. My parents had a really great Bible that had pictures of the actual places things happened. Look for Bethlehem on a map as well. Trace their steps from Nazareth. In the second video you can see the ACTUAL places where shepherds kept watch and where Jesus was born!!
Now let’s journey to the real place the Nativity story unfolds....
On Sunday we celebrate the Holy Family. The Holy Family give us something to strive for. I think even the Holy family had their moments. God asks that when we fall, we get back up and do the best we can. Families come in all shapes and sizes. Some families are formed by friendship. We are all family as children of God.
In closing..... One of my favorite songs that fits every season is from Matt Maher and is my prayer for each person .
We made it to the Fourth Week of ADVENT. Christmas is right around the corner. Is our heart and home ready to receive Jesus? Have we made room for him in our hearts?
Did you know that it was St Francis of Assisi that gave us the tradition of setting up a Nativity scene? Have you stopped by the church to view our Nativity scene? Do you have one in your home.
When my children were very young they loved Legos . Part of our family’s tradition was for my son and daughter to build the stable for our nativity scene. I had very inexpensive figures for the holy family so it would be okay for the kids to play out the scene. They would work together to build it and place the people inside and we would talk about it. What are some of your family’s traditions?
Below is a clip explaining what the first Nativity scene was like as St. Francis brought it to tradition and why this is a very important visualization.
Where do you go to find peace and prayer? How can we make sure the door will be open when God arrives?
This past week, Pope Francis has declared 2021 to be dedicated to St Joseph. The song below is one of my favorites imagining what St. Jospeh was thinking when Jesus was a baby.
For Kids in grades k-4 and their families:
What are ways your family keeps Jesus as the true meaning for the season? What TV specials do watch together? One of my favorites is the Little Drummer Boy. What are some of your family’s favorite traditions?
What will you give him?
For kids in grades 5-7 and their families:
Did you know that the Blessed Mother Mary was only a young teenager.... probably around 13-14years old? Can you imagine being her when the Angel visits to tell her about God’s special plan? She said,” YES” to cooperate with the plan. She may not have understood everything but she trusted. What would you do?
God has given us all a special plan for our life? Do we take time to listen to the ways God lets us know which direction is best for is to go? Ask GOD to help you find your special part to play in building HIS kingdom.
For Youth in grades 8-12 and their families:
How has ADVENT been going for you? This week we focus on the Blessed Mother’s “ yes” to God. How often to do we say “ yes” to God.
How often to we put trust in God even when we are not understanding the plan exactly?
Make sure you make room. Pray with me.
Welcome to the Third Week of ADVENT otherwise known as Gaudete Sunday or Rejoice Sunday! We light the PINK candle. What feelings does the color pink envoke in you?
December 12 , we also celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe! What a special miracle that the Blessed Mother has left for us as a sign of her love and care.
Family Fun with purpose: Crank up your inspirational Christmas tunes and make some cards or gifts for Nursing homes or neighbors in need of Christmas JOY!
For kids in grades k-3 and their families: Who is John? What did he do? What was his message?
Don’t forget to light your pink candle on your advent wreath! We are celebrating “ Rejoice” Sunday!!
One other specila day we remember on DECEMBER 12 is the feast of of Lady of Guadalupe! The blessed Mother appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico and left us with miracles. Please click on the link beliw to hear this amazing TRUE Story!
If you are looking for an amazing family movie to watch about another time when the Blessed MOTHER appeared to three children, please watch “ Fatima” . This is also a true story that keeps blessing us!! Break out the popcorn and curl up in a blanket and be blessed.
For children in grades 4-7 and their families:
This week we learn more about John the Baptist and we also light the third “ Pink” candle on the advent wreath!! This is known as Gaudete Sunday . This means “ Rejoice” in latin. We are getting closer to Christmas!!
There are many Saints we celebrate during ADVENT TO LEARN ABOUT! A holy challenge for you is to do google the Saints and draw a picture... We have the Blessed Mother, St Lucy, and St Nicholas to name a few.
For youth in grades 8-12: Get your JOY ON- it is Gaudete Sunday!!
What is real joy? Hint it is different than happiness... see last week’s Fr. Mike video.
Miracles happen everywhere if you look. We celebrate an ongoing miracle on December 12 in the feast day of Our LADY OF Guadalupe. It is the TRUE Story Of when our Blessed Mother appeared in Mexico to Juan Diego. She left a miracle that has been blessing people ever since. If you find that interesting.... watch the movie “Fatima” it was recently released. See the trailer link above.
At the close of this blog for this week.. I am
posting a song that is not your typical Christmas song but has always touched my heart with it’s message. We seem to always focus on doing good during certain times of year when really we are called all thru the year to help others.
Here we are already to prepare for the second week in Advent! I hope you are making a plan and checking it twice on how best to spend this period of Advent 2020. I pray that we all use this time wisely. This week’s Gospel is focused on John the baptist. He was spreading the message for all to “ Prepare the way”.How are we doing so far... preparing the way? What are the delays and stumbling blocks in our way to the Lord. It will be a different answer for everyone. This week... let’s pray that whatever is blocking us from being ready or tripping us up , that God either uses it for a purpose or he helps us clear the path.
This week’s prayer focus: Show me what needs to be done to be ready. Help me focus on all the right things. AMEN
For Dec. 8- Feast of the Immaculate Conception
We celebrate and honor the fact that the Blessed Mother was conceived without sin. Many people misunderstand this day and think that it is about the Conception of Jesus. This day is about Mary. It is about God’s plan from the very beginning of Mary’s life- her conception!
Family Challenge: Draw Mary and Jesus
Another good challenge is to save money and give to our giving tree at St Francis Xavier! We are doing things differently this year.. you can mail in donation to C/o Chris Grenier, 1 elm street, New Milford, CT 06776. Check is to SFX and memo to Martha and Mary Fund. Due to safety ,gift cards will be purchased with funds raised. Let’s lift the spirits of someone struggling and please donate! Make it a family project! Call the office if you have questions. 860-354-2202.
For kids in grades k-4 and their families:
What are 2 things you think you need to do to get ready for Jesus? What things are your family working on to prepare?
For kids in grades 5-7 and their families:
The Gospel this week:
For Youth grades 8-12 and their families:
Things that you can ponder in your heart-
Has anyone made their own advent calendar? What kinds of things to you do for each day? How is your ADVENT going? How can this Advent change your life and strengthen your faith?
Welcome to the First week of Advent! What is the real meaning of Advent? What can you do as an individual or community for Advent?
Here are some great ideas to help bring our families into a deeper experience of ADVENT and truly celebrate the reason for the season.
Advent prayers from Fr. Gerry:
The Advent Wreath
The Advent wreaths a circular garland of evergreen branches representing eternity. Set on the branches of the Advent wreath are four candles; 3 purple candles and one pink candle. A more modern tradition is to place a white candle in the center of the wreath. As a whole, the candles represent the coming of the light of Christ into the world.
Each week of Advent on Sunday, a particular Advent is lit. Catholic tradition states that the four candles, representing the four weeks of Advent, each stand for one thousand years, to total the 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of our savior.
On the first Sunday of Advent, the first purple candle is lit. This candle is typically called the "Prophecy Candle" in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ.
The leader prays:
"Stir O'Lord,Your might, we pray you come, that defended by YOU, we may deserve rescue from approaching dangers brought on by our sins, and being set free by you, obtain our salvation. Who lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen"
This first candle represents hope or expectations the coming Messiah.
The Bethlehem Candle
On the second Sunday of Advent, the second purple candle is lit. This candle typically represents love. Some traditions call this the "Bethlehem Candle,"symbolizing Christ's manger.
The Leader prays: "Stir up our hearts O' Lord, to prepare the ways of your only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve you with purified minds. Who lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, word without end. Amen"
The Shepherds Candle
On the third Sunday of Advent the pink or rose colored candle is lit. The pink candle is primarily called, "the Shepherd's Candle, and it represents JOY."
The Leader prays: " Incline your ear to our prayers O' Lord, we beseech you; and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of your visitation. Who lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen"
The Angels Candle
The fourth and last purple candle, often called the "Angels Candle" represents peace and is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent.
The Leader prays: "Stir, O' Lord, your might, we beseech You, and come and with your great power come to our aid, that by the help of your grace, that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by your merciful forgiveness. Who lives and reigns, with God the Father , in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.Amen"
On Christmas Eve, the white candle is lit. This candle is called the Christ Candle. and represents the life of Christ that has come into the world. The color white represents purity, Christ is the sinless, spotless,pure Savior. Those who receive Christ as Savior are washed of their sins and are made whiter than snow.
Music is a profound way to pray but we can’t forget the value of silence. Here is one more worship song to pray for ADVENT.
For Families with children k-6:
For Kids in grades k- 5:
For Kids in grades 6-7:
What do you know about ADVENT? What traditions does your family have during this time? How do you remember the true meaning of the season?
So.......... after watching those videos-who are YOU waiting for? How will you be ready for ADVENT? Some ideas to help... one way is to find ways to use the gifts that God has given you to help others.......for a example click the link below.
For YOUTH in Grade 8-12:
It's the first Sunday in Advent.... Let's remember what this is really all about.. Not even a pandemic can stop us form preparing the way.
I invite you to pray for a special experience of Advent in your heart this year. Pray for God to help you see all the ways that even in the middle of new challenges facing each of us that we receive the gifts that Jesus has for us , if only we accept him to work miracles that we can't even expect. Behold the wonder and grace that is born of every day and especially in a heart that is open to Jesus finding a home in you.
This week's scriptures are some of my favorite passages. In the first reading from Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17 we are reminded of God's care for all his people, even the ones that are away from him. The passage mentions sheep and the tender care of the shepherd.
The responsorial psalm is perhaps the the most widely committed to memory.... Psalm 23 "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want." The Second reading is from 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28. This passage should give us reassurance that God sees it all and will handle all of it with justice, mercy and love. The Gospel is from Matthew 25:31-46. This is when Jesus discusses the when the Son of Man will come in his glory... as Christ the King sitting on a throne with angels at his side. We will have to account for our actions on earth. Jesus calls people who have ministered to the people of the earth saying whatsoever you did to the least, you have also done to me. When we take actions to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, or visit the in prisoned we are doing this to and for Christ.
We can probably all agree that the year 2020 has been challenging but packed with opportunity to serve each other. There are many ways we can serve the people around us. Pray that God opens your eyes to the needs so you can act.
A classic song mediation ," Whatsoever you do" hits home the idea that every action we take towards others... is what we take towards God. Something to remember.
From Fr Gerry to everyone:
Thanksgiving Day Blessing:
In the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
We gather today to give thanks to God for his gifts to this land and its people, For God has been generous to us. As we ask God's blessing upon the food we will share with our families, may we be mindful of those in need.
Response: I will give thanks, O Lord with all my heart.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth;
In the presence of angels I will sing your praise:
I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.
Response: I will give thanks, O Lord with all my heart.
Because of your kindness and your truth; for you have made great above all things your name and promise.
When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me.
Response: I will give thanks O Lord with all my heart
All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord:
"Great is the glory of the Lord."
Response: I will give you thanks, O Lord with all my heart.
Prayer of Blessing:
God most provident, we join all creation in raising to you a hymn of Thanksgiving through Jesus Christ your son.
For generation upon generation peoples of the land have sung of your bounty; we too offer praise for the rich harvest we have received with grateful hearts.
Continue to make our land fruitful and let our love for you be seen in our pursuit of peace and justice in our generous response to those in need.
Praise and glory to you, now and forever. Amen.
May each of us enjoy healthy and happy "Thanksgiving."
Family Activities for THANKSGIVING:
For the young kids:
Children Grades k- 4:
This week we celebrate Christ the King of the Universe! In the Gospel we hear that what ever we do to others we do to Christ. So how we treat others is very important. When we help others, we help Jesus.
When we are mean to others, we are mean to Jesus.
For Grades 5-7:
This Week's Gospel emphasizes how important our actions are as followers of Christ. Jesus says whatsoever you do to others that you do unto me. What we do matters. Would you ever be bully to Christ? Would you ever not help Christ if you saw him carrying a stack of books and struggling to open a door? Whenever you help someone, it is as if you are helping Christ. Whenever you are unkind to someone it is as if you are unkind to Christ.
Watch the video below and discuss who was like Christ and who was not.
Actions often speak louder than words. Kindness and compassion can be contagious. How can you start a chain reaction of kindness? What would the world look like if everyone was treated as if they were Christ in disguise?
For Grades 8-12:
This week's message is full. It has so much in it for us to reflect on. Here are some key thoughts... Jesus is like a shepherd. We are the sheep who follow him but sometimes get lost. Our actions count. What we do and say matters. What we do and say to others is what we do and say to Christ the King!
Jesus gave us many clues how to follow him.... he taught us that service to others is key. What kinds of service can you do during this pandemic? How can you help your family, your neighbors, your community, and the world? What would Jesus do?
One last thought on the impact of our actions........YOU ARE A CHILD GOD, let your actions reflect this truth. When you fall and you will, begin again.
Happy Thanksgiving..... remember it is the simple things in life that remind us... Let this be your prayer this week.
In this week's Gospel , Jesus is sharing the parable of the landowner that gives his servants "talents" and some go to good use and multiply and some are hidden and do not. He is pleased with the servants that make good use of what has been given to them and they show their gratitude by helping it grow. The servant that keeps it to himself does not please the landowner. We could say at least he didn't lose it, but the landowner gave to him so he could make something out of what was given.
Bishop Barron gives us food for thought on what Jesus was actually trying to teach us.
Worship has the ability to lift our prayer, change our moods and help us to remember that we are not alone. I love the prayer in the following song by Matt Maher. I hope it touches you as well.
For Children k- 4th grade:
This week Jesus reminds us that we all have been given different talents and gifts. He wants us to find ways to grow our gifts and share with others what God has given to us. He does not want us to hide them and keep them for only ourselves.
For GRADES 5-7:
This week the Gospel gets us to think about all the gifts and talents that God has given us. Take a moment to name and claim 3 gifts you recognize that you have been given. Some people find this hard. (If that is you , ask your parents). Sometimes we don’t always know what they are yet. Ask God,in your prayers, to reveal them to to you.
This week’s prayer:
THANK YOU for blessing us in so many ways. THANK YOU for your love and forgiveness. Lord, this week, help us to recognize and use our gifts for your glory. Please reveal to us things that we might be missing. We know you made us all unique and for a special purpose.
Help us to trust in your plan. Show us how to make good use of your gifts to build heaven on earth.
For Grades8-12 :
This week’s focus is on our gifts and talents. God has given us so much and we should be grateful for all God’s goodness and blessings. How do we show God we are GRATEFUL?
Some people start a gratitude journal taking time each day to pick out things they are grateful for in their lives. Try it and you will see how your perspective changes. Take time to thank God for the big and small gifts. If you are struggling to find your gifts, ask God to help you to recognize them. A challenge ..... take time this week to recognize the gifts God has given others and tell that person you have noticed that they have a gift for whatever it is that you notice. Be sincere.
For all the Star Wars fans.... remember when Rey was discovering her gifts with the Force. Here is a clip from her training scene. It reminds us how each of have gifts within us but sometimes we need to put time and effort into it. God gives us these gifts always to use for good. May we find,develop and strengthen our gifts so that we too can make the world a better place. May God be with us!
This Week's Gospel is Matthew 25:1-13. Jesus shares the parable of the 10 virgins waiting for the Bridegroom with the lanterns. Five were prepared for his arrival with lamps that were ready with oil to light the way. Five were not prepared and their lamps were empty of oil. He took the five that prepared to the wedding feast. The last line in the passage is "Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour."
This is a reminder to all of us. We will never know when God will call us home. We need to be living our lives ready and not take things or people forgranted. The following is a reflection written by Fr. Gaetano Piccolo.
For those who have had the experience of keeping watch over a sick person through the night, especially if it was a very close loved one, you know what it means to fight off sleep. You do everything in your power to stay awake; you use every ounce of strength; you draw on all your resource, but even so you fall asleep, perhaps only briefly, moments that escape your control. The same happens in life: though we try with all our might to stay alert, sometimes we just fall asleep.
We fall asleep out of tiredness or out of distrust. We fall asleep because we are disappointed or because we don’t want to see the truth of things around us. We fall asleep because we are superficial or because we have lost the courage to hold out a little longer.
This passage of the Gospel describes the sleepiness that spreads through the community that tires of waiting for the Bridegroom. It should be a night of celebration and joy because He that we have been waiting for is finally returning: the Bridegroom, the one that brings the fullness of life. But instead, the night becomes frustrating: things don’t happen as we had hoped. God doesn’t work according to our schedule and the Bridegroom does not arrive when we want him to.
According to the parable, everyone falls asleep: both the wise virgins and the foolish ones. It is as if to say that falling asleep is inevitable, a fact of life. It is not avoiding sleep that differentiates the wise from the foolish.
The parable centers on different symbols: the lamp and the oil. They are common symbols throughout the Bible. The lamp reminds us of Jesus’ invitation to be the light of the world, that the lamp cannot be hidden under a bushel. It reminds us that life should not be wasted and that we can’t hide from life. It also reminds us of the City on a Hill that shines for the wayfarers, so that they can see their goal, just as our lives should shine for others and help them find their way.
The ten virgins with their lamps especially remind us of the community invited to dance for joy and celebrate the coming of the Bridegroom. It is the symbol of the Church called to wait joyfully for the coming of Christ. This symbol could remind us of the Jewish interpretation of the chorus of virgins in the Song of Songs: the disciples that carry the light of the Law (the Torah) and keep watch for the Messiah.
The lamp however needs oil to continue to shine: it is the oil used to keep watch for and welcome the Bridegroom, the oil of welcoming. But oil is also what the Good Samaritan uses to heal the wounds of the man beaten down by life. And above all, oil is what is used to anoint and consecrate the Messiah, He for whom our hearts continuously hope.
Therefore, oil is the symbol of very deep and very personal gestures. Perhaps it is for this reason the foolish virgins have little luck at the marketplace. There are things in life that we must do alone, things that no one else can do for us. There are situations that we must be prepared for because there won’t be another opportunity.
What is the difference then between the foolish virgins and the wise ones? It’s not in their ability to stay awake but in how they’ve prepared their lamps. Sometimes our lamp can even go out but if we know how to light it again and to use it, in dark times we will know what to do.
The problem of the foolish virgins is not sleepiness but something more fundamental. The never took care of the lamp that they were given. The Bridegroom even says that he does not know them. In their lives they have never cared about the Bridegroom and that is why they are unprepared now.
In the middle of the night, even in the deepest darkness, a cry of joy will wake us. The night cannot last forever; the Bridegroom will return. Do not put your lamps away in a closet but have them on hand and lit, even if the world says that it’s foolish and pointless.
Questions for personal reflection:
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
This Reflection was written by Fr. Gaetano Piccolo
This week's prayer......
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed on us. Help us to live lives awake and ready for your glory. Help us to remember to keep our lamps filled with oil so we will always shine in the darkness and point to you.
In the name of Jesus we pray.
For Children k-3rd grade:
This week's lesson is about being prepared. The video below is loaded with adorable songs and a very important lesson for the young and old!!
For Grades 4-7:
This week's lesson is about remembering to be ready for when Jesus comes to meet us. The following video is a modern version of the the Gospel this week. The Bridesmaids did not have flash lights and batteries but lamps with oil....(LOL) Questions to discuss:
How is my family keeping ready?
How am I keeping ready?
What does it mean to be ready?
For Grades 8- 12:
If you play a sport, play an instrument, or schoolwork, you need to have a sense of being prepared. You want to be ready for the game, the concert or the test. We are always willing to be prepared for things that are important by doing our best.
This week's Gospel is about being prepared for the day when we meet Jesus face to face. He tells a parable bout some bridesmaids waiting for a bridegroom. ( the bridegroom is actually Jesus)
We do not know the day or the time but we hope to be ready. We hope to be at our best. We hope to be living a good and holy life.
Jesus knows when we are doing our best. Do we help each other do our best? Do we encourage one another? The following video is taken from a Lenten reflection but the message reigns true for any time of the year. Let's all work on being prepared.
The song below has lyrics that touch on what we can do while we are waiting. I know that all of us are waiting on this period of covid to be over as well. It isn't an easy time. Just close your eyes and let this be a prayer.
This weekend is packed with good opportunities for reflection!! God is so good!! All the time God is good! We have the Gospel readings from Matthew5:1-12a which is the Beatitudes( or Sermon on the mount) and it falls on ALL SAINTS DAY!!
There are so many lessons for us to ponder in our hearts.
Jesus is always showing us the way to a good and holy life so we can join the Saints in heaven. First, lets look at the beatitudes.
November 1 is also ALL SAINTS DAY!! We lean on the SAINTS as role models of faith and prayer partners. This week's prayer is the Litany of Saints. We will ask for the Saints to pray for us especially for wisdom in the upcoming election! You and I are called to be saints. We ask God's help with this goal.
For Kids k-4
For Grades 5-8
This week we are focused on the message of the "Beatitudes". Jesus was teaching people how to live a holy and happy life. Much of this message focused on thinking of others, relying on God and not other people and things and standing up for what we know is right respectfully.
Here is a short video that uses movie clips and some humor to try and get you to think more about what Jesus wants you to know about living a truly happy life.
I am beginning to see a theme here each week as God is reaching out us with a clear message. It is a very timely one for our modern times. In this week's Gospel, Jesus gives us the two greatest commandments.
The first one is love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. The second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. Last week's Gospel, we were called to remember that we are all created in the image and likeness of God.
Which commandment is easier for you to live by? Which commandment is harder?
In honor of All Saints day coming up.... here are some quotes to help us with loving others
St. Mother Teresa- " Spread LOVE everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." It's not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts."
Pope St. Gregory the Great- "The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists it works great things, but when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist."
St. Catherine of Sienna- " Charity is the sweet and holy bond which links the soul with it's creator; it binds God with man and man with God.”
St. John of the Cross-" To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but the greatness of it's humility."
This week's prayer challenge:
I invite you to pray this scripture throughout the week:
"May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you."
1 Thessalonians 3:12
KEEP it SIMPLE!!- Let the lyrics of the song below reign in your heart!
For Children grade k-5:
This week we will be thinking about the two greatest Commandments that Jesus gave us to live a holy life.
1. Love God with all your heart , mind and soul.
2.Love your neighbors as yourself
Sounds easy doesn't it?!
What are ways you show your love for GOD?
What are ways you show your love for others?
Here is a catchy song to get us to remember the two greatest commandments. It another song that you can get up and move to the music. When we sing and dance with intention it is also a way to pray and increase our joy!
For those that like to make things to help them remember the lessons: click on the link below. If anyone would like their craft posted on our website we would love to share it!
For Grades 6- 8:
This week's theme is based on the two greatest commandments that came directly from Jesus!
Its all about LOVE!
1. LOVE GOD
It is that simple! How do we show our LOVE for GOD?
How do we LOVE others?
How do we live this out.....
on the sports field
in the cafeteria
on social media
with our friends
with people that are not kind
with people who are strangers
with people that have a lot
with people that have a little
with people that do not share the same life experience
with people that do share the same life experience
with people that are struggling with addictions
with people that are suffering with poor health
with people that are not as popular as you
with people that have family struggles
with people that are anxious
with people that are not anxious
The truth is that you were made to be a SAINT! You can become a SAINT with God's help!
This week's Gospel challenges us to think about what we give to GOD.
Where do we place our focus and how do we see ourselves?
Prayer for the week:
Thank you for all the many blessings in our lives. Thank you for your patience with each of us as sometimes our lives get filled with distractions. Help us with your amazing grace to keep our eyes on you and may our very lives always reflect the light of Christ. We are are all made in your image, help us to recognize the divinity in each human you have created. Help us to love radically. Increase in us so that we may decrease.
For Children: This week's Gospel helps us think about how important it is to keep God in the center of our lives and how we were made in His image.
This next song..... I dare you to make up your own dance to the Lord and celebrate being made in his image!
For Youth: Everyone needs reminders!
One of my favorite songs that has been made popular in the secular world has such a deep meaning. It is another reminder of our identity as a CHILD of GOD made in his image. Do not listen to the messages out there or in your own head that tell you anything different!
Many of you are in Confirmation and may be looking for Saints to choose for your Saint name. Did you ever wonder why we need to learn about these amazing people? One reason is they are role models. They are role models of faith and they lived real lives in this world. We can learn from their lives how to live a holy life despite the challenges and distractions. We are all called to be saints. We all have a part to play. A holy challenge would be to pick one from the video below to learn more about!
This week's Gospel is about the invitation that GOD extends to us so that we can become "the CHOSEN". The question we all have to answer is .... how will we respond? All are invited.
The Gospel is taken from Mathew22: 1-14
ALL ARE INVITED............
We each need to look at our individual lives and see what stops us from responding to HIS invitation. It is never too late to respond. As you reflect on this invitation....close your eyes and hear the lyrics of the following by clicking on the link below.
For Children: This week's Gospel is about God's invitation to each of us. Did you know that God has invited you to a very special life. When Jesus was explaining this to his friends, he used a story about a king. Jesus often used stories to help us learn important lessons. Here is a song that tells the story about the king..... what do you think the lesson was?
Here is the answer......
For Middle Schoolers: No one likes to feel left out or uninvited. A cool fact about God is that everyone is invited!! You are never ignored or left out when it comes to God. He is not a bully. He will never force you to accept the invitation of a relationship with him. He can be your true best friend if you say "YES" to a life as a follower of Christ.
For Teens: This week's Gospel is all about your personal invitation. You are the MVP . God has invited you to an epic life with HIM.
How will you respond to His invitation?
We are all called to be Saints! You and I are called to become Saints. You can only become a Saint with God's help. No one can become a Saint on their own. There are many teen Saints...check out the story about Blessed Carlos Acutis.
This week's Gospel is really about truth. Some people seem to say one thing but do another. Some people say they follow Jesus but don't and then some people admit they aren't sure or they aren't worthy and actually do follow Jesus.
Which one are you?
For Children: Here is another get up and Dance Challenge! Worship and Praise is fun.... make your words and actions match! We would love to receive videos of kids participating .... try it and see how it lifts your spirits!
This week's question: Who are you when no one is looking?
Do you say you are a follower of Christ, but when it comes down to actually doing what Jesus would do...how do you choose? It's not always easy. Stay on the path that leads to Christ. Keep doing good things even during the pandemic. Be creative, find ways to help others safely. Please mask up... Jesus most certainly would wear a mask if it would help other people and stop a sickness.
Watch the skit below..... Do you keep God in a Box?
This week's Gospel is packed with more instances of God's love for us as grace. We don't earn it, but we are all welcome to His unfailing grace. Jesus tells the story of the worker's in the vineyard and how there were discrepancies in who did what, and how much compensation was owed by the land owner. The people that were there first thought they were owed the most and the people that were there last were given the same amount. It reminds me of the prodical son in how the loyal son was jealous of the Father's generosity to the son that left and wasted his money. I think it comes down to we are not the judge of who is worthy or not of anything that comes from God. All are welcome to God's love and grace. Thank goodness he does not only call those who "feel worthy".
A prayer that has helped me refocus my thoughts and prayers is the Litany of Humility. It hits me in the heart and maybe it will mean something to you as well.
Another important theme this weekend is..... Catechetical Sunday!!!! We are finally starting our classes in person and at home. This ministry to our families CAN NOT be done without the very large group of parents and other special people that have volunteered their time , talent and treasure to help our young people grow in faith!! We are so thankful for each and every volunteer catechist!! We have always been super blessed with parishioner's generosity in volunteering. This year despite the challenges of moving forward in a new and different way.....we really can't say thank you enough for returning or stepping up to be part of our team. St. Francis Xavier parishioners always come through to help in Faith Formation. God Bless you and your families! Thank you for being workers in the vineyard!!
Kids and families who are in person classes.... please make it a goal to find a special way to thank your Catechist! You can write a letter, make a gift, or whatever your heart tells you but make the effort to say , “ Thank you”. Your children are so loved by our volunteers and they do it because of their love and light that comes from God! Please pray for your Catechist as well... the best gift ever!!
For Parents... an object lesson on Fairness
For older youth:
This week's theme is packed with opportunity! We have the Gospel that reminds us that God is generous and we need to be more merciful and kind. The theme of forgiveness is emphasized when Peter asks Jesus ,"Lord, if my brother sins against me,how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus answers," I say to you, not seven times but seventy -seven times."
We also have so many families sending their kids back to school in one way or another.
Here is a prayer that parents can pray over their children's backpack.
Bless this backpack and my child who carries it as they begin a new school year. Help them discover and develop the gifts you have given them. Allow them to be the best student they can be,reaching out to others and setting good examples to all they meet. Help them to be peacemakers and always kind.
As they carry these backpacks may they be reminded of your love and care that surrounds them each school day whether they are at home or in person.
Give them confidence when they are anxious,and encourage them when they are tired.
Help them to be patient with themselves and others as they learn to do some things differently this year.
We pray for all the teachers,parents and school staff members as they help guide our children in faithfulness to you.
Knowing that making transitions and starting new beginnings can sometimes be challenging...here is a song to remember that God's Grace is ENOUGH
FAMILY CHALLENGE :
Start a family prayer journal. Write your first prayer together. Let everyone contribute to the words and intentions. Always remember to thank God for all the ways he has blessed them.
For Children k-5:
ANOTHER FAMILY CHALLENGE!
Tired of sitting down ....... get up and dance...here is a song/dance that is very easy to learn. Send me a video of your family learning this song/dance and I will post.
FOR YOUTH: Grades 6-12
Sometimes Forgiving is hard....have you ever thought about the effects UNFORGIVENESS has on you.
This week's Mass readings themes are loving and forgiving. The Second reading is from Romans 13: 8-10 and the Gospel is from Matthew 18:15-20.
Love your neighbor as yourself is the bottom line in the second reading. The Gospel challenges us to reconcile our differences with one another . These are such important messages yesterday and especially today.
Enjoy the musical meditation below by Brother Isaiah.
For the kids ( and adults to pray together):
Now that we are approaching the beginning of a new year in Faith Formation..... a great way for us all to stay grounded especially during a challenging period in history is to start good routines. The best routine we can give our families is one with prayer. We can also teach our kids to get in the habit of praying independently.
Check out the idea for helping prompt this routine by clicking on the link from Catholic Icing.
I selected the image of a hiker to reflect on this week’s Gospel because Jesus reminds us that following him can have some challenging moments but the view from the top will be an awesome reward. We are called to help each other get to the top but Jesus shows us the way!
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus gives his disciples a heads up to the future and what is going to happen to him. Naturally, Peter’s first reaction is to not want to accept the fact that his beloved friend would face such a hardship but Jesus quickly rebukes him to point out that it is God’s plan and no one should stand in the way. He reacts rather harshly to Peter.
He then goes on to explain what it means to follow him. It is not easy always but it will always be worth it. Jesus shows us what it truly means to love through sacrifice and he calls us to follow.
Just reflecting on this aspect of what it means to love, I recall how my Dad would say to each of us, “ I am offering up my day for you,” when he knew we were struggling with the ups and downs of life. We always felt better knowing that he was with us in this beautiful way. Now as adult children we do the same with him and our own children. What better lesson can come of love than this?