fireside and began to read his newspaper. A few minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He thought that someone must be throwing snowballs at his living room window.
When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his window.
"I cannot let these poor creatures lie there and freeze," he thought. "But how can I help them?" Then he remembered the barn where the children's pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter. He put on his coat and boots, and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light. But the birds did not come in. "Food will bring them in," he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn.
To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shoeing them in the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction--except into the warm, lighted barn. "They find me a strange and terrifying creature," he said to himself. "And I can not seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety..."
Just at that moment, the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for a while, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow. "Now I do understand," he whispered. "Now I know why you had to do it."
"Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh" (Romans 13: 12-14).
In order to persevere through the difficult moments of life we must nourish our faith with the Scriptures, the Eucharist, the Rosary and the frequent reception of the Sacrament of Confession. A daily encounter with the power of God will give us the ability to conqueror the challenges of life. If we struggle, we will persevere. If we persevere, the victory will be ours.
"Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths" (Isaiah 2: 3).
We can easily tire of the struggle. Personally, I believe it is far better to drag an exhausted body and spirit through the difficulties of life, rather than to give in to the promptings of the flesh which make us yearn for an easier life. Rather than to give in to the sirens of comfort, I prefer to hear these words from my Lord at the moment of death: "I know too that you have perseverance, and have suffered for my name without growing tired" (Revelation 2: 3).
The Advent season gives us a fresh opportunity to look at our lives and deepen our relationship with the Lord Jesus who has come already in humility and will come again in glory.
Father James Farfaglia, the Happy Priest, is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Father has a hard hitting blog called Illegitimi non carborundum. He has also published a book called Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life. You can contact Father at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can click here for the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Advent, First Sunday, Penance, Fr. James Farfaglia, Christmas,
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