With Franciscan Eyes

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An Advent Prayer When Waiting Takes Too Long

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Gracious God, there's so much waiting in my life. I wait in lines. I wait for a better job. I wait for others. I wait for financial security. I wait for a doctor's report. I wait for love. I wait for pain to abate, and I even wait for death. Sometimes the waiting erodes my joy and fills me with dread. Help me find waiting to be the friend that invites me into the spaciousness of stillness. Give me the grace to refrain from rushing ahead in order to bring waiting to an end. Instead, let me find joy in the waiting itself. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

Living Advent Joy

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We are fast approaching the third week of Advent which has JOY as its theme. What exactly is joy? I looked up the definition and it says, “joy is a feeling of great pleasure or happiness.” In the full definition it uses the words elation and delight to further describe joy. Digging even a little further I found that there is a Biblical meaning for joy. St. Paul understood that joy does not depend on what is happening, or what we have, or who is in our life or not in our lives. Letting go of all of that makes room for God. Joy is an attitude of the heart determined by confidence in God. Real, genuine joy is a result of having a strong and intimate relationship with Christ. To truly know Christ is to truly have joy. So, to have true joy we need to spend time with God. Thus, the more time we spend with God, the more joyful we will be! Not exactly the true joy that St. Francis talked about where he was not welcome at the monastery in the dead of winter at night. Just picturing Francis with icicles on the bottom of his habit and ice on his beard makes me shiver! He would agree that spending time with the Lord is true joy. During the remaining days of this short Advent may we take time to be with God so when Christmas comes we can experience joy in our world! It would be wonderful if instead of war, hunger, depression, poverty, homelessness, etc. our world would experience elation and delight in God and one another. What is the attitude of your HEART?

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Have a Greener Christmas

Your Christmas list isn't finished yet! There are other gifts to give... gifts to the planet... gifts to future generations... gifts to our Creator. For individuals, what do these gifts, these offerings, look like? These gifts are every effort, great or small, to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. How can we do this? Think first: Do I really need to buy this? Can I make or bake a gift? Can I re-gift something? Could I find gifts at a thrift shop? Is there a more earth-friendly version of this? Can I buy it locally? Can I use more natural materials in decorating and wrapping of gifts? If I use lights, can I use LED lights and limit the hours they are used? Can I recycle my old holiday lights and Christmas tree? Can I use small potted trees to decorate and then plant them outside in the spring, giving them away to others if I don't have a yard? And for those holiday parties, can I avoid plastic and Styrofoam, wash those dishes and recycle properly at the end?

Thank you for doing what you can to care for God’s creation! Your every effort is a gift! Have a Greener Christmas, and may it make your heart light!