Advent Greetings from Notre Dame High School!
As part of our preparation for this holy miracle that lies ahead, we wish to offer a Daily Advent / Christmas Reflection penned by various members of the Notre Dame Family.
Some tell of the season's magic, others reflect on the miracle; some tap into long-standing memories while others look to the future of Christmases yet to come. But all are personal.
We thank all of them for sharing.
We offer each as an opportunity to steal a moment from the day’s chaos to reflect on the gift that God has sent us. Have a blessed Advent and Christmas Season!
December 10, 2017
2nd Sunday of Advent - "John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. . . And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals." - Mark 1:4, 6-7
In this reading, John the Baptist's words were to prepare the way of the Lord, knowing someone mightier than he was to come.
I recall when I met one of women’s basketball’s greatest coaches. I remember people around him telling him how great a coach he was and he being very humble. I can even recall him commenting on the hoodie I wore that day and then asking me if I was ready, because if not, I needed to get ready.
My reply to him was, “I’m always ready.”
In return he told me, "I'll see you on the other side, maybe even in one of my uniforms."
This Gospel excerpt speaks of preparation. We don’t know when Jesus will come or when the opportunity to meet him will be, but as Christians we need to prepare our souls. We must be ready when he comes because second chances are often hard to come by.
So every day prepare yourself to be the best version of yourself so that you will not be passed by.
My personal hope is to better myself in all my relationships so that I cannot only learn, but lead and guide others in the right direction for whatever may be their goal.
Do you know what goal you strive for? I challenge you to look within and achieve a victory over whatever it is that you bury at every opportunity. The one weakness that defines you—let it define you no more. Prepare yourself and be ready.
December 9, 2017
1st Saturday of Advent – “Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.” – Matthew 9:35
Something very big impacted my life. My best friend throughout elementary school was riding his dirt bike in 9th grade, just crossing the highway to get to the other side of his property. He only needed to travel about 10 yards to get to the other side.
All of a sudden, at the moment he decided to cross, the sun was in his eyes. He didn’t see the car that was struck him at 60 mph. My friend flew over the car’s hood where he landed on the road with a number of injuries. Bad ones.
I can relate this so well to this particular excerpt of Matthew’s Gospel. Not only did my friend not die, he had a speedy recovery.
The scripture tells us all about Jesus healing others and what love He has for us. I truly believe Jesus was with him when he was hit by that car. At that speed, he was supposed to die.
Somehow he didn’t; he recovered fairly quickly even with pretty major injuries. Jesus healed him. Jesus made sure that he made it through.
My hope is to start saying thanks for the people in my life more often. How can you be more thankful for the people you have?
December 8, 2017
I received my first Holy Communion on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
I had no idea what the Immaculate Conception meant at the time, but years later, when applying to enter the convent, we had to submit copies of our sacramental records. Then, for the first time since age seven, I looked at the certificate I received from my first Communion and there was the date --- December 8th, 1985.
The Solemnity of Our Lady actually meant something to me by then, and I was touched by the fact that she was watching over me that day so many years before. Perhaps she had been praying for me knowing that I would one day become a religious Sister.
It is fitting that we remember Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception during Advent, for we believe that at this moment God graced Mary to be the Mother of His Son, Jesus. He filled her with His special love, so that she might be a worthy vessel to carry the Son of God in her womb.
During the Advent Season we see so many images of Mary: statues, Christmas cards, nativity scenes. But never do we see her alone, but who she is in relation to her very special son. Mary, Immaculate Conception, and Mother of Jesus, pray for us.
Sister Mary Rebekah, O.P.
December 7, 2017
Advent is a time of true joy in my heart. I love the look on the students' faces as they anticipate this Christmas season. I thank God every day for the gift of viewing the world through the eyes of His children.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School
December 6, 2017
The Advent and Christmas season is both the most anticipated time of year but also the most hectic time in our household. We all have shopping lists to make, sales to find, presents to wrap, decorations to put up, and Christmas cards to create.
We balance this with helping our teens with college and scholarship deadlines, school exams, and extracurricular activities. We can all relate to the hustle and bustle that detracts from the real reason for the season.
However, I think as Christians, we really shine during Advent in helping those in need. For our family, one of the traditions we started years ago was visiting with residents at a local nursing home that were without family. Through the years, my daughters and their friends have gathered together to make personalized gifts and stockings to give, sang Christmas carols, and brought a little joy to a lonely elderly person.
These residents are so happy to see the girls and many lasting memories have been made through the power of one random act of kindness. Advent for me is a time of giving, sacrifice, and waiting in anticipation for the coming of Jesus.
In reflection this Advent and Christmas season, I hope that our entire ND family experiences the joy, hope, and love that is alive through the birth of Jesus.
Trina Hicks and family
Vice-Chair, NDHS School Board
December 5, 2017
“Be watchful! Be alert!” (Mark 13:33) “Stay awake,” says Jesus.
We have studied how long a person can stay awake. It’s about eleven days. Try to push beyond that, and we die. Not only is the desire for sleep built into us, but sleep appears essential and inevitable. We don’t understand why, yet it is true.
But, of course, Jesus isn’t talking about sleep. He is talking about prayer. Be watchful of the mind, keep awake our desire for the eternal reality, and let go of all that is fleeting. What a great message!
Why wouldn’t we want to spend our lives thinking about God’s infinite love for us and experiencing it here and now? Who wouldn’t want to know and live out the peace and serenity that Jesus offers? Even though prayer can give us all of those things and more, prayer is hard. It seems to be the hardest thing we can do.
Just as we are wired for sleep, so at times it seems we are wired to forget the eternal, to forget God, and only see what is in front of us. That robs us of peace. It robs us of knowing God’s love. Even though prayer is challenging, we must do it. It is the only place where we can find meaning; it is the only place we can discover the unconditional love we desire.
Advent is a good time for us all to rediscover prayer, to wake up and keep watch with Christ. So, try this exercise. Find a quiet place, free of all distractions and noise. Sit down. Set a timer for five minutes. Calm yourself. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and exhale. Say out loud, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.” Then sit in absolute silence.
You may feel this to be the most protracted five minutes of your life. Every possible thought and idea will flood your mind and lull you back into the sleep of distraction. And that is ok. There is no reason to be frustrated or give up. Instead, take each idea, each diversion, as it comes to you and acknowledge it for what it is. Acknowledge your cares and anxieties. Then offer them to Christ. Say, “Jesus I give you this distraction. I entrust it to you. I know that you love me enough to take care of it.”
Then let it go. Do this for every distraction. If it comes back, do it again. Keep doing it until the words you are saying, the prayer you are offering, takes root in your heart and you truly believe it, until you believe it with every ounce of your strength.
An infinitely powerful God loves you and cares for you and would do anything to lead you to happiness. Through this prayer make room for him. Just as Jesus was born into the world, he can be born into our souls, and he will transform us. He will give us the peace we long for, the love we search for, and the happiness that exceeds all we can imagine.
Commit to doing this exercise, this simple five-minute prayer, every day of the Advent season and you will learn the power and love of our God.
- Father Adam Royal
December 4, 2017
Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus warns us to watch out and be alert because we do not know when the Lord will come. Imagine that you are in a car driving to your destination, and are trying to pull out onto the main road but cars keep flying by. You have to wait for an opening to pull out so that you can get to your destination.
Ultimately, our destination is heaven and all the cars flying by are the challenges that you face. You have to overcome them and to watch out for the opening that the Lord gives us to reach our destination.
The challenge is finding that open space on the busy road with all these obstacles in our way. We hope our faith is strong enough to last until we find an opening in the traffic.
Keep looking for the opening.
- Megan Bordash