Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Readings

IS 45;6c-8, 18, 21c-25; Psalm 85; LK 7:18B-23

Daily Advent Challenge 12-14When the private letters of St. Teresa of Kolkata were released, many people could not grasp why she attested to going through periods of time where she felt alone and abandoned by God. But for those familiar with the writings of St. John of the Cross, the experience of the “dark night of the soul” was very familiar. Some describe the experience as God working in our souls to draw us ever closer to his heart.

The dark night of the soul is not to be confused with depression, that which is brought on by a chemical imbalance in the brain or a traumatic life event. This Advent, many are suffering through profound sadness and depression. This may even be your reality. Christmastime is so very hard, for so many, for so many reasons. But know this: there is a God who loves you and a community here on earth that cares, named the Body of Christ.

So either you have been given gifts by God that can help someone in their darkness, or by being open to the reception of someone’s gifts you might be able to see some light. Either way, God has placed on call on all our lives today. No one should be alone.

Daily Advent Challenge

Find a person you know that is having a particularly hard time this season and resolve to help them in some way. If you do not know someone, turn to your church or civic community. At this time of year, there are outreach programs to help make life easier or brighter for others, even if it is caroling at a nursing home or homeless shelter.