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Watch! A Homily for the First Sunday of Advent

December 06, 2017
By Msgr. Charles Pope

The Sunday Gospel announces a critical Advent theme: While I want to comment primarily on the Reading from Isaiah, the Gospel admonition surely deserves some attention as well.

Too many today hold the unbiblical idea that most if not all people are going to Heaven.For weeks now we have been reading parables in the Gospels in which the Lord Jesus warns that many (possibly even most) are not headed for Heaven. There are the wise and the foolish virgins, the industrious and the lazy servants, and the sheep and the goats. Today’s Gospel features those who keep watch and those who do not.

Although many prefer to brush aside the teachings on judgment or the teaching that many will be lost, Jesus says, “Watch!” to all of us. In other words, we should watch out; we should be serious, sober, and prepared for death and judgment. We must realize that our choices in this life are leading somewhere.

Tags: Homily, Sunday

Why You Need a “Soul Friend,” and How to Find One

December 06, 2017
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

The problem with finding a holy spiritual director is that they are often hidden. Here are the secret signs to look for...

What is the role of a spiritual director? The spiritual director is part counselor and (if he is a priest) confessor. The best term I have heard for spiritual director is “soul friend.”

A soul friend is a person to whom you can confide your fears, your longings and your desire for spiritual growth. He or she may be more advanced than you are, but that is probably a question not worth asking because the answer is so complicated.

A soul friend walks with you on the spiritual adventure. They accept you just as you are, but love you too much to leave you that way. They challenge you but you will also challenge them.

The problem with finding a good spiritual director is that you are looking for a holy person, and the problem with trying to find a holy person is that they are hidden. The treasure is buried in an ordinary field. The pearl of great price is in an ordinary oyster among a million other oysters at the bottom of the bay.

Too often we go for the celebrities. We mistake fame for holiness, or we are inspired by a great preacher or teacher and mistake a speaking gift for holiness. A person who writes or communicates well is not necessarily holier than anyone else.

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12/6/17 - By Msgr. Charles Pope
12/6/17 - By Fr. Dwight Longenecker

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