Fr. Leo’s Advent Prayer & Christmas Blessing 2013
By: Fr. Leo E. Patalinghug, December 2013
This season of hope, wrapped with God’s grace, a time to renew our friendship and love,
Reveals the Christ Child, a glimpse of God’s face, a sign that our prayers are heard from above.
The gift of ourselves is that which He seeks, wrapped in acts of humble charity,
Which is why His gifts are shown through the meek, those who hear Good News with clarity.
For we are only dust, and to dust we will return, our possessions cannot be paid by silver or gold,
Our value is our faith, which the Lord never spurns, and our greatest home is with the Lord in our Soul.
May this prayer, rhyme, and verse be reminders, how this season celebrates meaning beyond imagining.
These Holy Days are gifts to remove our blinders, to teach us, in Christ, how best to be living.
Blessings to you, your family and friends, to those forgotten and hurting may grace be yours too.
May the Lord’s gifts to you be without end, and may this Holiest of Days be celebrated by God in you.
Blessings to you in this Season of Holiness,
Celebrating the Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Dear family, and friends of our GraceBeforeMeals.Com apostolate,
So much has happened in this past year, and we continue to discern how best we can fulfill God’s plan for us. We sense that 2014 will bring us closer to our goals, which will never be achieved fully in this lifetime. But, each year, we set for ourselves resolutions, based on prayer, to keep feeding hungry souls with God’s truth and love. While we have made great efforts in our field of evangelization, we know there is still so much work to do. Please know of our prayers of gratitude and petition for you. We humbly ask for your support through prayers, and simply by you feeding others with Good News and sharing our Grace Before Meals message with everyone you meet.
With Mary’s Prayers and Christ’s Blessings,
Messenger Meals and Messenger Eagles
|The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Guadalupe Shrine|
In this especially festive time of the year, we will see Christmas cards and nativity scenes showing Mary’s essential role in our faith. She has been sent by God to remind us how that our Father hears all of our prayers – for ourselves and for others!
A new movie called “The Blood and the Rose,” a type of docudrama produced by award-winning documentarian and producer, Tim Watkins – who just happens to be the executive producer of Grace Before Meals – shows how God continues to send messengers, including St. Juan Diego. In this fantastic movie, we see St. Juan Diego as a normal man with an “ordinary faith” whose obedience helps him to become a “messenger eagle,” sent to the world to share good news.
For those in Baltimore, MD, there is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Catholic Business Network of Baltimore is hosting a Film Screening and evening of Spiritual reflection tomorrow at 6pm at The Erinn McCarthy Humanities Hall at Maryvale (11300 Falls Rd. Brooklandville, MD 21022). The tickets range from $25 – $50 and food & drinks will be served. Enjoy this film that gives an amazing account of the miracle and the call to be Messenger Eagles, and also get an opportunity to network with other local Catholics. Click the link below for the details.
Sharing a meal with someone gives them a message of hope. We ought to consider this and share our blessings of food with others. But, at the same time, we ought to consider how we can give a direct message of good news to feed hungry souls. We ought to become a messenger and give a gift of hope, a message of peace, and inspiration to hearts, minds (and bellies).
|Couples at a recent marriage presentation in Michigan.|
With Christmas around the corner, our movement offers great gift ideas to help you become a messenger eagle through meaningful meals! We also have the movie about Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as our Grace Before Meals products. Get free shipping on orders over $30*. Click the link below for more information.
Today be a messenger of hope, like St. Juan Diego – a true messenger eagle – and serve meals with a message that will feed body, mind and soul.
Food for Thought:
- What “spiritual” or “religious” type of gifts do you give to family and friends?
- Have you ever given a Grace Before Meals book to someone, and did they like it?
- How do you try to be a messenger of hope in your life and in this season of advent?
Please let us know your thoughts, comments and responses to these questions. It’s your way of communicating with us what’s most important to you so that we can be good “messenger eagles” for you! LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!
|Culinary college students took some of the leftover meals from their culinary classes to the poor in San Francisco.|
Let us pray:
Saint Juan Diego, you are our first American indigenous saint. Please pray that God the Father would protect all migrants through His Son, Jesus Christ. Ask the Father to pour out the love of the Holy Spirit upon all who are isolated, alone and separated by choice or necessity from their native lands. May those torn away from their families and forced to leave their country to find work elsewhere be reunited: husbands with wives and parents with children. We ask especially for migrant women and children who are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of human trafficking. Give them Your protection and shield them from evil. May we as a Church receive the Grace to welcome with love migrants who enter into our country, seeking a home in our parishes and communities. We ask for Your prayers and intercession for all immigrants who are desperate, alone and in need of God’s loving support. And we ask Our Lady, who appeared to you as your Mother and Mother of all in our land, to wrap her mantle of protection around all migrant people. We beg for her love, compassion, help and protection on all immigrants who today experience great sufferings, sorrows, necessities and misfortunes.
for the feast day of St. Juan Diego)
|Blessed Mother of the Nations|
Presentation and Presents
|My mom, being Mrs. Clause for her youngest grandson 2010.|
St. Nicholas is the man who children are expecting on Christmas Eve, but his feast day is actually this Friday, December 6th. You know what that means? PRESENTS! That’s right, be sure and give your children and loved ones a gift on Friday in honor of the Feast of St. Nicholas. They may be surprised, but definitely happy. Honestly, who doesn’t like receiving gifts? This can also give you an opportunity to explain how Nicholas would use his own personal funds to anonymously help the poor, making it easy to see how the Saint became Santa.
|Great gift ideas for your priests, family, friends and church members. Click here.|
Presents are no doubt an important part of this holiday season. But it’s important not to let commercialism and out-of-control consumerism take over this Holy Season of Advent.
Remember, we just began the 1st week of Advent in preparation for Christmas. It’s not Christmas yet, no matter what commercials and stores have been telling us since Halloween. Also, we must not forget that receiving Christ in our hearts is the greatest gift we receive. Even in all our busyness, we can’t forget to prepare a gift for Jesus! During Advent, we are preparing for HIS birthday. We can’t forget that! I’m sure St. Nicholas would agree.
|Me with an almost ‘life-sized’ St. Nicholas. I say almost because I was definitely taller!|
One gift that Christ seeks is our presence, that is, simply being present to Him. In fact, the word “presence” is what describes the gift of the Eucharist. God is present to us through that sacred food, which we receive at Mass.
|Priests praying before the Tabernacle, which contains the Blessed Sacrament – The Presence of God.|
In honor of St. Nicholas, consider how we can give a gift to Jesus by being present to him. That means paying attention to Him and allowing our humanity to reflect our faith in God and our care for each other. It means, paying attention to how our facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, and even our dress because they show how God’s presence dwells in our hearts and souls. Giving a gift to Jesus could also mean being more present to God in prayer, by being ready and on time for Church, taking time throughout the day to pray, and perhaps even visiting the Blessed Sacrament to be in God’s Eucharistic presence. And of course, we need to pay attention while saying a prayer before we eat – to recognize that God is present at our meal when we invite him with every Grace Before Meals.
In the chef and food world, presence and presentation are great indicators to success and deliciousness. Food presented well and chefs who are present to the hungry are definite gifts in the culinary culture. It’s true for believers as well.
|New friends from a presentation that I gave to the HHS Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Presentation June 2013.|
St. Nicholas’ feast day reminds us of how this season is all about giving presents just by being present to God and to each other. We just need to remember to work on our presentation of faith to others and to be more even more present to Jesus in prayer, i.e., not bored!
|Happy and hungry campers at one of my Catholic Culinary Presentations.|
Special Holiday Deal at LeoMcWatkinsFilms.com,
home of Fr. Leo’s GBM products:
Food for Thought:
- What is the gift that you will present to Jesus on his Birthday?
- What’s your favorite gift that you received from Santa Clause?
- How will you be an image of God’s presence in our world?
Please post your comments and response to these questions below. Your posts, feedback and questions are so helpful to our movement. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!
Happy St. Nicholas feast day! Celebrate with presents in God’s presence!
Let us pray:
Father in Heaven, in this first season of Advent, give us the Grace to remember what great gift You give to us: being present to us! You, the Great “I Am” are always with us. Help us to remember that, to celebrate that, and to reflect Your presence in our lives by our words, example and our very life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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