Lady of Guadalupe….Advent…Dec.12, 2018

“And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”  Luke 1:35

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Even though Franciscan missionaries had worked in Mexico for twenty years, it only took ten years after the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to convert practically the entire Mexican people. That is a miracle. With this conversion, the Aztec practice of human sacrifice came to an end. What cultural practice do we need to come to an end?

Oh my God, help me to adore Mary’s son and your holy son, Jesus.



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shepherd….Advent….Dec. 11, 2018

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?” Matthew 18:12

What is your opinion? Jesus wants us to think. He wants us to understand and answer his questions. If we get off track, like the lost sheep, he’ll come looking for us. Of course it’s best if we don’t hide from him. Instead, we should cry with vigor so he’ll hear us and find us quickly. Our independent search for greener grass or sweeter water or whatever it is we’re wanting is best when we keep the shepherd in sight.

Because you are my shepherd, Lord, there is nothing I lack. Thank you.


This is a picture of Uncle Buck and a hired man with our sheep. I think this is taken on Maiden looking west. I know I have fond memories of the lambing sheds and sheering camp. I love hearing Dad’s stories of Uncle Buck, the mule and moving sheep camp in the mountains.

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Fear Not…..Advent….December 10, 2018

“Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to those whose hearts are frightened; Be strong, fear not! Here is your God.” Isaiah 35:3-4

Did you know that the words “fear not” is used four times in the Christmas story?

  • Zechariah’s story: “the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.” Luke 1:11-13
  • Mary’s story: “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33
  • Joseph’s story: “when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
  • Shepherds’ story: “Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:8-10

Isaiah tells God’s people years before Jesus’ birth to “be strong, fear not”. Tom told us yesterday, the 2nd Sunday of Advent was known as “Fear Not” Sunday. Maybe we need to ponder this message a bit longer than usual during this year’s Advent season.

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Knowledge….Advent….2nd Sunday Dec. 9th

“And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10

This is a great prayer that Paul wrote to the Philippians. The question that pierces my mind is: Does God do the work of increasing our knowledge or is this work our job? If I think about my childhood, as a young toddler, knowledge came from my father and mother who explained and modeled much of what I learned. Then when I was school aged, I needed to listen and do the practice of the lessons provided by teachers if I was to learn. By this comparison, knowledge is increased by both God’s influence and our hard work.

St. Paul also said to test our perceptions and not just go along with the flow. We need to recognize what is valuable. Maybe this is a move from simple knowledge to wisdom. How can we increase wisdom? Is it a gift from God?

Please Lord, help me and my family increase in love and more knowledge of you.

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Mary….Advent….December 8, 2018

“But she (Mary) was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” Luke 1:29

How do you envision Mary? Is she quiet, but confident? Is she humble, but powerful? Is she helpful, but not pushy? I know she pondered. She questioned. And she said “yes”.

Oh Mary, help me imitate you by saying “yes” to what God wants me to do.

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Light….Advent….December 7, 2018


I love the light and warmth of our wood stove during these cold, dark days!

“When his children see the work of my hands in his midst, They shall keep my name holy; they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob, and be in awe of the God of Israel.” Isaiah 29:23

Winter begins in a week when the shortest day arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s interesting that I’m pondering light and vision today when our world is dark and cold.

Did you notice that Isaiah starts this verse with when, not if? “When his children see.” Why don’t we see? Are we not looking? Maybe the Evil One has darkened our mind so the Light can’t shine? John 1:5 says: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it“. Jesus, the Light, can penetrate evil. Well Then….Why don’t we see the work of God’s hands? Maybe we see it, but give credit someplace other than God. Maybe, the real reason is explained in Matthew 9:27-31:

As Jesus passes by, two blind men followed him, crying out, ‘Son of David, have pity on us!’ When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I can do this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘Let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And their eyes were opened.”

“Do you believe that I can,” said Jesus. Belief. Our eyes open following faith and trust.

Open my eyes, Lord. Help me to see.

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St. Nicholas…Advent….Thursday, December 6, 2018

“I will look after my sheep, says the Lord, and I will appoint a shepherd to pasture them, and I, the Lord, will be their God.” Entrance Antiphon from Ezekiel 34: 11, 23-24

Today is the Feast Day for Saint Nicholas. It reminded me of Father Jim, who was the pastor of St. Elizabeth’s Church located close to OHSU. I remember walking from OHSU to the lit church for an evening Mass and Advent celebration. The walk was filled with dark and damp, but I held Tony’s arm as we strolled along a path through a Doug Fir forest. It was a small group of trees, which seemed large going but smaller coming back. I was glad to have Tony next to me. I went looking for this event in the Love, Jan book and found it on page 172. I wonder where Father Jim is today. I don’t even know his last name, yet he’s the one who stood with us (before the crowd came) and gave Hilary last rites and prayed with just us, the family. He weaved in and out of Hilary’s room throughout our time at OHSU. Truly, he was a comforting shepherd for this small part of God’s flock and I’m thinking of him today.

While you watch the news of George Bush’s funeral and think of your family members who are gone, I hope you also have memories of a held arm in a dark, damp place and a warm lit church.

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