Merry Christmas !

(Holy Card image re-print permission granted from Holy Cards for Your Inspiration blog)
Hello my dear friends!

I have intentionally stayed off of the Web to spend time with my family that traveled so many miles to spend Christmas with us. I am glad to be back, though, to chat again about our lovely, precious Catholic faith.

My message today is simple: Praise God that in His infinite wisdom and infinite love for His sinful children, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to us in the form of a human baby, in the most humble of conditions, in order to teach us the Word (which is God) and to ultimately die for our salvation and eternal life in Heaven.

Merry Christmas!

~ Bella

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The Fourth Sunday of Advent: Staying Close to Mary in Our Season of HOPE !

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Hello my dear friends in Christ!

This is such a special week as we wait for the celebration of our Lord and Savior's birth! Can you just imagine how Mary felt when she found out that she was pregnant with the Son of GOD? I can only remember my humble days of waiting for my first child's birth, also in December. . . oh the joy, and oh the waiting!

And here we are, in waiting still. How close are we to our Blessed Mother, our spiritual mother? To stay close to Mary every day of our lives is essential to finding Christ in this life and to living with Him in eternity.

I know that I need to grow closer to our Lady more each day and trust in her intercession with her Son more and more. Mary teaches us to hope and to be patient. We are so impatient in today's culture and society; wanting 'things' now, now, NOW . . . or better yet: yesterday! Those who do not aspire and believe in the attainment of eternal life with our heavenly Father and Son are those who give up, complain, who have either lukewarm or non-existant faith, and who cling to earthly 'things' above all else.

How many of us are becoming overwhelmed with the never-ending negative news around us? When we keep our minds, hearts, and souls focused on what is coming soon, we will stay focused RIGHTLY and we will be filled with JOY knowing what is to come! That JOY and that HOPE will conquer and push out all of the discouragement!

Jesus told us in Matthew 6:19, that our hope is not to be placed in the things of this worldly life, which mothes and rust destroy, and which thieves can steal, but rather our hope is to be placed in the pure treasures of unimaginable joy living in eternity with God! My hopes and prayers are that I will grow ever so much closer to Mary, and to Christ and our Heavenly Father each and every moment, to forgive my never-ending human sinfulness, and to recieve His blessings and GRACE! THAT IS MY CHRISTMAS WISH AND HOPE!

We're not just suffering now and in the past; but we are always going to do so until we find our JOY in heaven. Hope in our Lord strengthens our patience in our adversities.

Let's not forget to always place our TRUST in Jesus, for He is perfect in His timing to help us and to give us the graces that we need. Let's continue to wait for the Lord, and know that all will be well in HIS timing and not ours. Let's keep hoping and living with JOY despite our earthly dispairs.

And let us remember to be ever more devoted to our Blessed Mother, who is Christ's Mother and a necessary advocate for our salvation. In these few days before we celebrate our Lord's birth, it behooves us to look to her example of HOPE in her Son!

With amore' to you,

~ Bella

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We Need "Poverty of Spirit" to Recieve God

"No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything,
look down on others,
those who have no need even of God — for them there will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone.
That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God."

- Archbishop Oscar Romero (December 24, 1978)
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The Third Sunday in Advent 2008 -- REJOICE in the Lord, for the Lord is at Hand

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Rejoice in the Lord! For the Lord is at hand!

Our joy during Advent is because we, Catholics and Christians, know that Jesus is near us and is coming closer to us each and every day. We, not Jesus, are the ones who separate ourselves from Him through our own sins, whether petty or large.

Joy comes naturally when we have Jesus in our lives and when we welcome Him to live in our hearts, minds, and souls each and every day of our lives on this plane called earth. We are at our most unhappiest when we walk without Him. . . we are the lost sheep without our divine Shephard. We can NEVER find joy in things that separate us from our Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That type of joy and happiness is ELUSIVE . . . FLEETING. In fact, the wrong 'things' and paths that we have or take in our earthly journey home to our Father only bring us more misery and sorrow. And oh how I can attest to this, having, you know, "been there, done that"! I have lived so much of my life in darkness before and it was all because I was not living a Christ-filled life. Thank God, in His divine grace, gently woke me up to look up at Him instead of at other people and things! Praise the Lord for His "Amazing Grace" to save a poor wretch like me. But oh how I need to continue to improve each and every day in my attempts to live as Christ and our Father want me to live.

As we read in Psalm 71:7 --
Sing for JOY,
O Heavens, and exult, O earth.
Break forth, O mountains into singing,
for our Lord is coming!
Christ and our Divine Father are the wellspring of our joy and happiness. Let us remember to stay close to God so that nothing and nobody can take away our joy and our inner peace.

It seems that everyone you talk to today has reasons to be unhappy. For example, my husband was informed that his department at his university will be eliminated in the next four years (so that those students enrolled in his programs can graduate). He will be 70 years old at that time. I told him that when God closes one door, he opens another and that this is perfect timing anyway, because that is the age at which my husband wants to retire from his current vocation anyway. The sad thing is that my husband never thought that this would be the way his career would end . . . the dissolution of a discipline that he so dearly has loved and been so dedicated to.

But there are so many state budget cuts currently throughout our nation in this economic situation. I just pray that people could understand that social services to OUR PEOPLE of this great nation cannot ALL be cut.....most especially public education, the field that helps so many people lift themselves out of situations that they don't want to find themselves in! Yet, through all of this bad news, my husband remains joyful because he knows that there is a divine hand in everything.

And yet there are still so many people who are worse off than us with so many problems these days. Thankfully, Christmas is truly about our Lord's birth and not about monetary things that so many people have been socialized to believe. I think those that are the most materialistic are having 'some' of the hardest times right now with how they are being forced to live without so many unnecessary luxuries. Luxury items were reported to be down in sales by approximately 20% for this month. Please understand that I am not referring to the poor, homeless, and jobless who have genuine hardships that we can and should help them with. JOY IS IN GIVING . . . not getting.

There is more that I wish to write about on this subject of joy and bringing joy into others lives by little gestures and kindnesses, and I'll write again shortly, when I can. I hope you'll join me in this little chat!

Amore' and JOY!

~ Bella

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CHRISTMAS IS NEAR! The celebration for our Lord's birth is cause for our JOY!


Peace, Joy and Love to You This Christmas

Merry Christmas, Peace, Joy and Love
to You This Christmas!
Amore' e' Buon Natale,
~ Bella
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The Second Sunday of Advent 2008 -- Bringing Light Into Our World

(Holy Card re-print permission granted from "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration"
http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com )

Hello my dear friends in Christ,

"Behold, the Lord will come . . . " said John the Baptist. Yet are we stopping in our busy-ness and daily holiday madness to stop and remember that? The world was in darkness before our Lord's birth, and here we are today, closer to His second coming, but still in darkness.

Let's ask ourselves if we are living in a way to bring the Light of Christ into our world. For me in higher education, it is a difficult time of the year because when the end of the fall semester takes place (right now) during the Christmas season, I still must 'assign' the grades that students have earned. I'm in a joyful Christmas mood of giving and loving, yet I have to get real and be the bearer of negative news to some of my students.

Oh yes, there are those 5 or 6 students in each of my classes that SHINE LIKE A STAR OF LIGHT each and every day!!! And these are the students that I LOVE assigning their grades. There is only joy in this activity! But, on the other hand, there are those students who performed poorly, or who had poor attitudes, or for whatever the reason might have been, consequently received poor grades.

In this season of preparing for the Lord, I want so badly to engage in random acts of forgiveness and kindness and just give them ALL good grades. Yet, this is truly a dishonest thing to do. Even our Lord and Heavenly Father loves us so much to discipline us. So for those who receive a more negative grade, I just write a kind note to them on their term papers and try to encourage them to do better next semester. This is also in fairness to those students who performed well.

Just as John the Baptist had a role in proclaiming the Lord, each of us in our own vocations, large or small, have a duty to live out our beautiful Catholic faith through not only our words, but also our DEEDS. Let's find ways to shine Christ's light on others around us in our own surrounding world, and hopefully, that light will ripple further into the other parts of the world? You never know the extent of your positive Christian impact!

I hope that you have a blessed day!


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