Friday Fast: December 27
Intention: We pray that families facing difficult trials at this time may be given the peace of Christ.
Reflection: Along with Christmas, we will be celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family this weekend! The Holy Family stands as a great example for each of our families. Although they faced many trials and difficulties, Mary and Joseph were able to remain joyful through it all because Christ was with them. In the words of Pope Francis, “…true joy even remains during times of trial too, even in suffering, because it is not superficial joy but enters into the very depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and confides in him…Those who have met Jesus along the way have experienced a joy that nothing and no one can take away. Jesus Christ is our joy! His faithful love is inexhaustible!” So, even though our families may surely face many difficulties, we can remain joyful because we do not have to face these trials alone. Christ is with us!
Did You Know? Although Christmas Day was two days ago, the Christmas Season has only just begun! In fact, the Church continues celebrating until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on January 12th. So, don’t take down those Christmas decorations just yet; keep the celebration going!
USCCB Subcommittee Chair Responds to Recent Court Decisions
WASHINGTON—Responding to the decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court to redefine marriage and the decision of the U.S. District Court in Utah declaring Utah’s marriage amendment unconstitutional, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said, “In a visit to the United States of America, Pope John Paul II –who will be canonized by Pope Francis– declared, ‘Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong, and are at the mercy of those with the power to “create” opinion and impose it on others.’ Both the New Mexico Supreme Court and the Federal Court in Utah imposed a wrong decision about the meaning of marriage onto the people of their respective states.”
The Archbishop further said, “We must start off with the right question. It is not, ‘Is there a government interest in not recognizing alternative types of relationships as marriage?’, but rather, ‘Is there a public interest in societal recognition and regulation of the only kind of relationship that brings children into the world?’ Every human society in history has recognized that there is. By losing sight of this fundamental reality, confusion and error triumph.”
Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco is the chairman of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage,Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, New Mexico, Utah, courts, New Mexico Supreme Court, Federal Court, marriage
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December 20: Friday Fast
Intention: As we await with joyful anticipation the birth of Christ, let us pray and give thanks for pregnant women. May they be blessed and encouraged in their vocation as mothers.
Reflection: The anticipation is building! Christmas is almost here. In today’s Gospel, we hear about the annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel that she will bear a son, and name him Jesus. Mary must have been filled with such anticipation as the birth of her son drew near.
We too are feeling the anticipation of the holiday. Children are getting excited to celebrate as they leave school. We are busy planning meals in anticipation for our guests. In all of this hustle and bustle, how do we find time for prayer? Christ’s presence is always with us, even in the busyness of life. We need only take a few seconds to realize it. As you go out today and this coming weekend in anticipation for Christmas, remember to take Christ with you as you wait in line.Try praying this simple prayer, “Jesus, you are with me.” Even this simple prayer will remind us Christ’s arrival on Christmas. Also, seize a few moments for some quiet time with our Lord.
Did You Know? The “Hail Mary” prayer has its roots in the Bible. The first half of the prayer comes from Lk 1:28, “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you,” and Lk 1:42, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.” The second half is a petition “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”