An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

December 20: Friday Fast

advent-wreath-2009-4-lit-candles-cns-nancy-phelan-wiechecIntention: 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.”

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