“What does it mean to love God? That’s a tough question. The more I learn that He’s here, and it is good that He’s here. When He speaks to me, it feels good – it feels like a firm foundation. And things begin to make sense. The more I’m exposed to God, the more it makes sense.”
“I was always learning more and more about the church, and about Christ and diving deeper into the sacraments and prayer; my heart was on fire. I remember people coming up to me and asking “are you sure you’re not called to be a priest?” But arent we all supposed to love God?”
“God, I want to do what you’re asking me to do, but there’s two of us here. Why haven’t you told her when you’ve told me loud and clear?”
“I want you to see the people with these open hearts, theses loving kind hearts that have been so generous to us. But I don’t want you to stop just at that person. I want you to see God, who is the giver of all good things, behind all of that.”
“I’m allowing love – I’m allowing God in me. I’m listening to Him and following him. That’s love reigning in me. That’s how I can extend love to others, because love is in me.”
“How am I doing when it comes to my relationship with Elise? And I’ve got my point that I want to say, and I’ve got my reasons, and I’m gonna interrupt and stop and try to do the thing that I think is right in the moment, when what I really need to do is yield to love.”
Fr Thomas E Chambers CSC PhD
We were truly blessed to have known Fr. Tom. He was an amazing man of God who served the Lord and the Church with such gratitude, dedication, and love.
I know I’m not the only one at Willwoods to have said this, but I have never been thanked by someone more than Fr. Tom. I always felt appreciated around him. He was so grateful for the work everyone did, and he would never shy away from letting you know just how much it meant to him. He was never outdone in his gratitude – even when I tried to thank him, he would turn it around and find a way to thank me! He actually wrote me a thank you card for every thank you card I ever sent him.
I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone so dedicated and devoted to the work he was called to. Fr. Tom never wanted to slow down or settle, he always wanted to move forward. He was a hard worker, always arriving early and remaining positive. He was someone who you wanted with you in whatever you were doing. I remember being so impressed with his dedication and unwavering drive that the thought occurred to me I’d want him next to me if I ever had to be a soldier in a war! Nothing would slow him down, scare him, or deter him from accomplishing the mission at hand. He was someone who came to serve and bring the love of Christ into the world, and that is definitely what he did.
Fr. Tom was a father. By the grace of God, Fr. Tom had an amazing love for others. On two different occasions I accidentally called him “dad.”. I’m not sure if he heard me, but it was a moment that revealed how loved and cared for he made me feel. His priesthood was not a title for him, it was his mission – his vocation, his calling, his life. Everyday he wanted to offer the Mass. Everyday he wanted to remind us of the great love and joy our Lord has for each and everyone of us. Fr. Tom cared for others, served others, and helped to reveal the Father’s love to others.
It is so difficult to say just how much Fr. Tom meant to me, my wife, and our family. It is so hard to list all the things that Fr. Tom did and the blessings I received from knowing him and working for him. But what I can do is give thanks to God for Fr. Tom. Please join my family and the whole Willwoods Community in prayer to thank God for the great gift that Fr. Tom was to us, and for the love and kindness he showed us and so many others. Let us pray together, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.” And let us also lift up in prayer our gratitude of Fr. Tom and pray for him that by God’s grace he may hear the words of our Lord, “Well done, my good and faithful servant…Come, share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:21). Let us pray together, “Eternal Rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual Light shine upon him, may his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
Thank you so much for your commitment to joining us for Waiting Together: An Advent Journey for Couples! I hope that this time together with your spouse was a blessed and fruitful one. My wife and I pray that you and yours have a blessed and merry Christmas Season!
Remember that your spiritual journey as a couple does not have to end here! Commit to walking with Christ daily, and know that we are here to support you in your walk. If you would like to learn more about our apostate and how we can help you and your church parish, please let me know! We would love to talk with you and help out in any way we can.
Thank you very much and may God bless you, your marriage, and all that you do!
Jason & Elise Angelette
Co-Directors of the Faith and Marriage Apostolate
Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
”Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.
As we arrive at the end of the Advent Season, let us look once again to Our Lady to help us welcome the Christmas Season. Remember how she responded to the message that she would bring forth the Messiah. We too have a role in bringing Christ into the world, so let us give Him our yes! When we give our yes, we participate in Christ entering the lives of others and the whole world.
God wants us to be His hands, His feet, and His love in the world! Not just proclaiming Him with our words, but being a living witness; not just a giving a handout, but offering an embrace of love from a heart filled with the very love of God! We are called to respond to the message of the Lord like Mary – giving our yes and always living out His presence, His love, and His light in the world! Let Christ be praised both now and forever!
Keep Christ in Christmas. This phrase is a great reminder about the real reason for the season, but how does one keep Christ in Christmas?
While there are many great traditions that we can do to celebrate the season, first and foremost, for us to keep Christ at the center of Christmas, we need to have Christ at the center of our lives, our marriages, and our families. We must keep Christ with us always. We need to foster our relationship with Him daily, far beyond the Advent and Christmas seasons. We should strive to live out our call to love Him and love those He loves, which is everyone who crosses our path. We need to go deeper in our understanding of the faith, and deeper in living out the faith. When Christ is the center of our life and our marriage relationship, then He will be the center of each and every Christmas.
Below is a prayer attributed to St. Patrick about this call to have Christ with us always, everywhere at every moment of the day. As a couple, pray it together, and instead of saying “me” say “us,” instead of “my” say “our,” and instead of “I” say “we.”
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.” – St. Patrick
What blessings or insights have you received during these Advent Reflections?
What are you thankful for from this time together in prayer?
Ask the Lord for a particular blessing that you would like your spouse to receive this Christmas. On their behalf, make your request together in prayer and conclude with “The Hail Mary.”
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.
“In each Hail Mary we bless both Jesus and Mary: ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is thy fruit of thy womb Jesus.’” – St. Louis De Montfort
Make a plan today to continue to come together for couple prayer, learn a particular aspect of the faith together, study Sacred Scripture together, volunteer together, participate in your parish marriage ministry, or start one together at your home. Use our new date-night marriage enrichment series called United in Love United in Christ to help grow in your love for each other and your love for Christ.
Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:57-66
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”
Today’s passage reminds us of the amazing circumstances surrounding the birth of the one who would prepare the way of the Lord, St. John the Baptist. The Lord is inviting you to reflect on how He orchestrated all of these events, fulfilling prophecies about Christ’s birth from hundreds of years prior. God always keeps His promises and is always at work in our midst! Determine this Advent season to truly trust the Lord in your faith and in your daily life. The message reiterates that from the 17th day of Advent: set doubt aside and do not limit what God can do in your life.
The circumstances surrounding your own birth were amazing as well, because even from that time you were set aside as a child of God! We should see ourselves within the full context of God’s plan, not just as a dash between the day we were born and the day we died. God has a purpose for all of us, and each of us is a part of God’s greater story. Every child born and baptized should inspire our hearts to ponder: “What will this child be, for the Lord is with them!” For the Lord is with them as He is with us, and “if God is with us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
“Take, O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. Thou hast given me all that I am and all that I possess: I surrender it all to Thee that Thou mayest dispose of it according to Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will have no more to desire. Amen” – St. Ignatius of Loyola
Zechariah must have had some amazing time to reflect on things while he was silent for all those months. Sometimes it is not the noise around you that drowns out God’s voice, but rather your own voice, never giving God a chance to say anything. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said that we should not be like a patient who runs to the doctor, lists all our ailments, and then runs out of the office before the doctor can prescribe a cure. Make time today to sit in quiet reflection with our Lord. If you need to say something do so, but then give Him time to say something too.
Also, schedule a married couples retreat in 2018. Find time for the husband to do a men’s retreat and the wife to do a woman’s retreat as well. Hopefully these retreats will be a silent time when God will have the opportunity to speak to your hearts, and a little more time for you to rest in His love and friendship.
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta