Rejoice in bleak times

The 19th-century English poet Christina Rossetti had never heard of COVID-19, climate change or many of the woes that beset us in the bleak midwinter of 2020.

Finding light in a weary world

“Can you believe people are putting their Christmas decorations up already?” an acquaintance asked me the first week of November. “I’m used to the stores starting Christmas earlier and earlier every year, but not my family or friends.”

The ‘O Antiphons’ of Advent

Each year, as we enter the final stretch of Advent, the church brings forth from its treasury a collection of ancient prayers, “The Great O Antiphons,” which express our longing for the coming of Christ. 

An Advent gift of silence

A few years ago, our family spent three days at Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon. We found ourselves drawn in by the beauty of the monks praying the Liturgy of the Hours in that magnificent church. Possibly the most pleasant was Night Prayer as the monks finished their prayers singing the Salve Regina before a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child.

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