Cardinal Godfred Daneels said, “The human person hesitates before the True, is impotent before the Good, but loves Beauty.”
As congregations begin to make preparations for Advent, this holy – true, good, and beautiful – season of the year, the O Antiphons stand out as one of the Church’s Advent prayer practices that can lead us to the peaceful, simple, rooted posture that we all seek.
How many times do we hear someone in the congregation tell us, “but this has been a tradition here for many years.” And when we investigate a bit further, it was perhaps done one time or not at all. I have often compared the memory of the congregation to a person who has dementia. Our short term memory fails us and our long term memory moves us back to a time and place remembered well but that no longer exists. I have found there are times when what is referred to as tradition by someone is a memory of something from their own background, not something built as a ritual over time with the goal to pass on faith from one generation to the next.
Sometimes Thanksgiving passes by without much notice. Thanksgiving as a holiday was almost abandoned around 1816. Sara Hale, who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” began an effort to bring the holiday back. She thought Americans were not paying enough attention in giving thanks to God. Agreeing, President Lincoln ordered that the nation celebrate two Thanksgivings each year. In 1941, Congress made the last Thursday in November the national Thanksgiving holiday.
We all get them. Electronic Newsletters from our congregation, news outlets, organizations that we belong to, or our child’s school fill our inboxes. If you are like many people, you scan them for information you might need or interesting things you may want to look into and then they are discarded. If your congregation is like many, you have gone to the electric format for a number of reasons, and even if you still print out your newsletter, I encourage you to think of how you can use it as a formation tool.
After 20+ years of being involved in children, youth, and family ministry as a volunteer, staff person, and consultant, I have found my three favorite words to be:
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