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Monday Musing – Christmas Eve Edition

730541-NO-ROOM-AT-THE-INN-CARDTypically these posts are done ahead of time and I have them on a scheduler that uses a timer.  But today I woke up really early, after going to bed pretty early, and while I was praying I read something that got me thinking. Now I can’t shake the thought – how often have I communicated that there is “no room at the inn?”

As you can imagine, things have been busy in the parish office. Regrettably, sometimes I let it get the better of me. Someone called on Friday afternoon when I was trying to finish up and get home. Add to that, three phones were ringing at once and I let them get the better of me too. The third call was from a familiar parishioner and I was harried and probably very rude to her.

Today I am reminded, as we all are, that all guests should be welcomed as Christ. (See Chapter 35 in the Rule of St. Benedict for a direct quotation.) I take that pretty seriously in the parish office – and in life, I hope. Sometimes I fall short and Friday was one of those days.

2000 years ago, give or take, an innkeeper, very harried on a busy and overcrowded night, told some prospective guests that there was no room for them at his inn.  We see how that worked out! Now his busy brush-off may not have been intentional. And goodness knows when things are full, they are full…. right?

All of this is a reminder that we must stop, look, and listen. (The link takes you to a beautiful post by my friend Michelle Francl-Donnay, on paying attention to radiant dawn and other things.) We must be attentive and we must be responsive in the context of our attentiveness. For me, that might mean letting one phone ring and go to voicemail, knowing that God is taking of everything, and pay attention to the person I am speaking with. For me, that is very hard to do – and in my good intention of trying to take care of everyone at once, I take care of no one.

So what can we do to welcome the Child who is about to be born? The Child who is born in us, over and over again? Perhaps those three things that Michelle reminded me of in her post, those words from my childhood, to “stop, look and listen.

If I stop, I might be more centered and more attentive, more aware, and more welcoming. If I look, I may see who is before me at all times, no matter how I feel – and then be more welcoming. And if I listen, I will hear the call, the call that should bring me to attention and not to frustration – and then be more welcoming.

Perhaps today we are all the innkeeper, in our various ways. What innkeeper will we be – the welcoming one or the the one who shuts the door?

O Antiphons – O Emmanuel

O_Emmanuel

O Antiphons – O Rex Gentium

O_Rex_Gentium

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

Saturday Song – Special Edition

This song, The Friendly Beasts is from Michael Iafrate, who I know via social media. He is a young Catholic theologian, musician,and father who lives in West Virginia. If you like this music, you can purchase a download directly from this website.  Here’s the best part… Your purchase will be contributed to the Catholic Peace Fellowship. This is a good cause at any time, but especially now, when they are really in need of donations.

O Antiphon – O Oriens

O_OriensYesterday I had a moment of spontaneous prayer-writing as I prepared the O Clavis David post. The words that came to me were:

We await the dawn, the coming of the Son of Justice, opening the door to lead us out of darkness and into the light!

Today we have the O Antiphon in which that door opens – O Oriens! Or O Rising Sun! This is why I always stand in awe of how the Holy Spirit works. While it was not my intention to connect one day to the next in quite that way, as usual, God has other plans. Better ones than we have.

O Antiphons – O Clavis David

OClavisDavidO Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

We await the dawn, the coming of the Son of Justice, opening the door to lead us out of darkness and into the light!

O Antiphons – O Radix Jesse

l_antiphons3O Radix Jesse
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

About four years ago I read a book about liturgy and worship, I believe that it was by Nathan Mitchell. I can’t find the book right now, so that’s as accurate as I can get at the moment.

Mitchell was talking about the communal nature of liturgy and of how networks arise. Trust me – it made sense in the book, which I hope to get my hands on and quote more directly. He wrote about the roots of rhizomes, which unlike tree roots, that go deep, reach out to connect to one another. While I have thought of this many times over the years, I never thought of it in relationship to this O Antiphon until today. Continue reading

Unwilling Willingness

(This is the text of a reflection that I offered at St. Edward the Confessor on Tuesday, December 18, during Evening Prayer.)
church_bazaar_christmas_fair_or_christian_event_flyer-p244107641514716651b73co_400God is with us.

God is with us.

God is with us.

It doesn’t always feel like God-is-with-us, does it? Especially now. Typically we might find ourselves on December 18th, pretty deeply into the “are-we-there-yet?” stage. You know, that feeling where we find our “it’s-almost-Christmas” glee crisscrossing with high anxiety over all the things yet unaccomplished as we race towards December 25.

Anxiety or glee – neither one is especially rooted in our Advent journey of holy waiting, but both are very common things to feel. I don’t know about you, but I am in a state of mind and heart that says, “can-we-leave-now?” rather than “are-we-there-yet?” And the “God-is-with-us” matter might be harder than usual to grasp. This makes me wonder if perhaps “are-we-there-yet?” and “can-we-leave-now?” are the wrong questions to ask.

We might find ourselves wanting to ask Continue reading

O Antiphons – O Adonai

Today is the second day of the O Antiphons. The O Antiphons are different names for the Messiah, and today we hear O Adonai.

Adonai, which also means Lord, has some other meanings as well. This is one of my own personal challenges with more literal translations. Words have cultural values as well and their meanings are often expressed through the context of the time in which they are used.

The term Adonai, or Lord, also has some etymology in the Continue reading

Bonus Post – The O Antiphons – O Sapientia

(I will post something for each day of the O Antiphons, which begin today.)

December 17th marks the beginning of the O Antiphons.

From the linked article:

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of of the church as we literally “pray through the day.” Many of us in the secular life use an abbreviated form of this prayer, but in monasteries, convents and all sorts of places, this is prayed daily.

Vespers is the Continue reading

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