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From the Pastor 12/24/17

A very blessed 4th Week of Advent. Many times the 4th Week of Advent is very short because Christmas falls sometime during that week. Well this year it is the shortest possible. The Fourth Sunday of Advent is being celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, December 23-24, and then the Christmas Vigil Masses begin the very same Sunday, December 24 at 3:00pm! What a decorating nightmare for your pastor! Things are very busy around here as we make last minute plans for our Christmas celebrations. May God bless and protect all of you during this Christmas Season, especially if you will be travelling.

Please remember St. Gertrude Church this Christmas and please be as generous as you can to the Christmas Collection. Please notice that we are in a $14,127.74 deficit in collections for the year. We hope to make up this deficit with the Christmas Collection. We depend on your generosity during this time of year to balance our budget.

Every year I print this wonderful sermon by St. Bernard. I do so because it is so beautiful. I look forward to reading and meditating over it each year when it comes up in the Office of Readings of the Divine Office. I hope you find some time this week to read it slowly, pray and meditate over this beautiful homily composed by a saint who had a true love and devotion to the Mother of God.

From a homily In Praise of the Virgin Mother by St. Bernard, abbot

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all come to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captives, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breath a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is the time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to raise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all the nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

God bless you, and a blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor