Back again ... because I FIND IT so darn fun!! We are not only revisiting it but have polished it off tobegin another season on DECEMBER 3, 2017. #SnapAdvent2017
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Save the above image - and snap a photo according to the days theme (you can find these next to each accompanying Advent date on the graphic).
Then hashtag #SnapAdvent and the theme you are sharing - it is OK if you do multiple days at a time - it is the holidays we WILL all have a day or 2 that we fall behind! DON'T forget to tag me @reconciledtoyou ! You can also tag either of my partner in creating the original ADVENTure SnapAdvent: Laure Lynch @lynchlm
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and SnapChat:
Not on Instagram but still want to participate? Or perhaps just want to post in multiple places - I know I will be. DON'T Forget to tag me @reconciledtoyou (on all social media platforms) and include #SnapAdvent (or #SnapAdvent2017) and a hashtag for the day's theme.
Rolls out December 3, 2017 ...
**Last year butterbeesandbumbleflies.com aka Christy @cdhinnant61108 added a phenomenal new layer to #SnapAdvent with her scripture printables: CHECK THOSE OUT HERE ... or feel free to share a Scripture connection of your own!
I can't wait to see all the amazing images shared by you that will deepen our Advent reflections AND the true meaning of this season!!
This Post IS ALSO part of the November CWBN Hop:
With Faith Everything has Purpose
There is no doubt in my mind that coincidences are God's way of making His loving presence known. This weekend, I spent a few hours in the hospital first visiting my father, who is suffering from Congestive Heart Failure as well as severely decreased kidney function. Then made my way, in the same hospital, to spend some time with my 93 year old Godmother, who after many years of living on her own and as sharp as a tack, is experiencing seizures and memory loss. My victory of the afternoon, making her laugh (more than once)!
When I arrived back home, I decided to unwind by perusing Facebook (FB) and sending out some FB birthday love. My usual method of posting FB Birthday Wishes, posting a fun bitmoji, does not usually entail me actually visiting my friend's wall. However, yesterday, by the stroke of one 'wrong' key, I landed on the FB wall of a long-time friend, and saw the following post made way back in 2009.
So much about this post is remarkable. First, I had completely forgotten I'd even written anything of the sort, but was immediately struck by the title, Mary: Model of Faith and Fidelity. Noting this was written long before I saw my first Fidelity Truck OR developed my current presentation (also offered as retreat day) Mary, Model of Faith. Yep the whole thing is just one Crazy Godcidence -- hence I had to share!
Mary: Model of Faith and Fidelity
Mary's yes to the angel Gabriel, hence to God, -- her “let it be done to me according to your word“, is an amazing model to responding to God's call in our own lives. Mary said yes to much more than just being the vessel to carry the baby Jesus , she models for us great faith and fidelity.
Mary personally welcomes and receives Jesus into her life, and we are called to do the same. To acknowledge all that he is - fully human and fully divine. Jesus humbled himself to be born man - so that we can see that he understands our struggles, our pains, our desires and fears. He walked among us in human flesh, completely able to sin, but choosing not to, the ultimate example of fidelity to God, and his Will in our lives. Accepting and receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the one that took on our sins - each and every one of them. Allowing ourselves to embrace the great truth (and gift) that he suffered, died, and rose - so that we also may one day RISE with him!
The Workings of the Holy Spirit
Mary was open to the action of the Holy Spirit. It is the spirit that testifies or witnesses to the truth. The truth that God is our Father - that it is He, who Gave His one and ONLY son so whoever may believe in him, may not perish but have eternal life. The Spirit moves and breathes within us - it is through the Spirit that we touch Jesus nail holes and spear pierced side -- testifying to the resurrection, not in matter but in the very marrow of our beings. When we allow that Spirit to testify to our hearts, when we choose not to lean on our own understanding, but allow the supernatural spirit of God himself to direct us -- it is then that Great and Mighty things can be done through us, as it was with Mary.
Sr. Nancy Keller, at the 2009 Boston Catholic Women’s conference, told this wonderful story of the transforming power of allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our lives. Sr. Nancy shared with us a vision of herself as a bird sitting in a cage (inspired by Psalm 124:7). The door had been completely moved from the cage, Jesus had removed it through his Paschal Mystery, but yet the bird stayed perched in its confines. Jesus called to her urging her to come forth, for He had set her free. She wanted to, her heart burned to be free, but she was afraid, and replied to Jesus that she could not move, she didn’t have the strength. Jesus gently spoke to her soul, assuring her that he knew she could not fly on her own, and that is why he sent his the spirit - God’s Holy Spirit - the one that if we cooperate with, is the wind beneath our wings.
Embracing the Word of God
Lastly, Mary embraced the Word of God (as it became flesh within her), and allowed that Word to be implanted within her and grow - bearing incredible fruit! We too can embrace the word of God in our lives through the reading at Mass and through the study of the sacred scriptures. Working together with the Spirit to be enlightened to the truth through the living word of God. Letting it implant in our hearts bringing us closer to our Lord and our God. Just as this truth grew and came forth from Mary to spread the Good News, we too can bear that fruit forth by not holding onto this precious gift but sharing it.
May Mary’s fiat - her YES to God -- be a true model to each of us. Let us respond with a resounding YES, welcoming and receiving Christ daily, being open to the movement of the Spirit in our lives, and embracing and sharing the precious Word of God. May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).
The Grace Trifecta
Standing before a room of 30 or so women facilitating my first faith sharing back in 2006, I fumbled around for the proper words as I tried to answer one participant's seemingly simple question on the grace of God. What is grace? While I had this innate understanding, I could not formulate the right words to express what I believed it to be. I realized, I had no definition.
Fast forward a few years, I am sitting in a small chapel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (aka Jesus in the Eucharist). In my reading I once again face the question, what is grace? This time I open the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit. That day the Allison abridged version of how I define the grace of God, was born.
Freely given, yet completely undeserved. We can not do anything to earn it; from his love we are lavished abundantly with the Spirit of God. The caveat, so to speak, is we do need to be open to receive it. Grace, though abundantly available, requires our invitation, our willingness to allow God to touch our lives in this magnificent way. Grace is God's Holy Spirit in US! It helps us to choose holiness; including the help we often (read in my case ALWAYS) need to make the better choices that will continually lead us to God and the holy lives we seek - and ultimately to eternity with Him, the Son, our Blessed Mother, and all the angels and saints, in heaven.
That evening nearly 10 years ago, not only was I completely unsure how to define grace but I also had no idea how to seek an increase of it within me. It was abundant and freely available; I could not earn it but how did I open myself to receive it?
After many more years of studying scripture, the Catechism and spending many hours in prayer and adoration; my heart began to understand that best way to this abundant outpouring of grace was through what I affectionately refer to as "The Grace Trifecta".
This trifecta encompasses our encounters with the Triune God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) in:
As St Paul teaches, I try to incorporate prayer into my every breathe - to 'pray without ceasing'. I am not on my knees or continually reciting a vocal prayer - but I am ever mindful of God in my life. Consciously aware that it is because of him that I have life; that he is in all things and with me in all circumstances. My first prayer of the day is to ask for his outpouring of grace into my heart so that I may never forget those important lessons; nor miss out on any of the many blessings he has for me hidden in each day!
At the core of every Sacrament is an encounter with Jesus Christ. It is impossible to have an encounter with Christ and not be changed. Every time we live out our Baptism; receive or adore him in the Eucharist; or receive forgiveness in Confession - we are changed. One of my favorite aspects of the Sacraments is how they interact with our senses. Catholicism is a full-body sport! In living a sacramental life one smells our prayers raising to heaven on the smoke of the incense; we see the body of Christ in the Church; we taste his body and blood in the Eucharist. We hear the call to holiness in the hymns, chants and prayers. We feel the touch of Christ in his priests during the anointing of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick. The Sacraments clearly bring us to our senses - and in doing so we are open, prepared and do in fact receive grace. Abundantly.
"The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." CCC 458
Maybe my math is a little off; as I am not the best mathematician but as I see it, Scripture = Grace because ...
God gave us Jesus to redeem and save us... out of love.
Jesus is the WORD made flesh.
That Word is revealed in the scriptures.
IF then we read the Word of God (aka Scripture) than it is infused by it's very nature in God's LOVE.
IT is from love that God sends us HIS Holy Spirit to abide in us - that love that is manifest in an outpouring of his abundant grace. So therefore reading the scripture opens our hearts and minds to the gift of grace. It is also an encounter with Christ - and I will reiterate - it is impossible to have experience with the Son of God and remain the same person. You will always walk away changed for the better ... and that is grace!
All rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Cover and inset photo credit: Debbie Gaudino, Saints365 2016
All The Ingredients
Visit Saints 365 for more on our summer Recipe for Holiness! #Recipe4Holiness
A long time #FanGirl of author, Maria Morera Johnson,