Five Faith Friday

Here is this week's installment of "Five Faith Friday" which contains five, faith-based things I found interesting and am sharing on Friday.

What I Read Yesterday --
"Day of National Thanksgiving. By the President of the United States of America [Abraham Lincoln]: A Proclamation." Did you have any idea how faith-based the Thanksgiving holiday was intended to be? " be observed as a day for National thanksgiving, praise, and prayer, and I invite the people of the United States to assemble on that occasion in their customary places of worship... render the homage due to the Divine Majesty for the wonderful things He has done in the nation's behalf, and invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit..." What is so neat about that link is that it includes the actual picture of the proclamation from Abraham Lincoln that is kept in the Library of Congress. Keep in mind... "Thanksgiving" means "Eucharist" in Greek.

What You Should Be Planning For --
Advent. It starts this weekend! Here is some fun information for you from Catholic Answers around Christmas: "The earliest surviving record of a specific celebration of the Nativity is a sermon by St. Optatus, bishop of Mileve in Africa, from about A.D. 383. Evidently, Optatus was the first to put a Feast of the Nativity into his diocese’s calendar. The idea caught on almost immediately, but the feast was celebrated on different days in different places any time from November to March. It wasn’t set at December 25 for the whole Church until about 650, and even then it wasn’t a major holiday. It wasn’t called “Christmas” until about the year 1000. The Feast of the Nativity didn’t get loaded down with all secular customs of Christmas—the caroling, the banqueting, and the elaborate exchange of presents—until about 500 years later."

How I'm Preparing for Advent --
Differently this year, that's for sure. Advent is not officially a penitential season but what if we treated it as such? That's what I'm considering this year and this is a really good article around the topic. Here are some ideas to consider as you prepare in addition to the traditional Advent wreath and Advent calendar:

  • Read through the Gospel of Luke. If you read one chapter beginning December 1st and one more chapter each of the subsequent days (note: there are 24 chapters), by Christmas you will have read the entire account of the birth, ministry, death, and Resurrection of Jesus
  • Pray the rosary every day. Our Lady said at Fatima on July 13th, 1917: "Pray the rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world... for she alone can save it."
  • Fast and offer up penances. The Church already tells us that the days of penance are "every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent" (Canon 1250) so you should already be practicing penance on Fridays to begin with (we choose abstaining from meat in the Yingling household) but consider fasting an additional day of the week or adding in other sacrifices
  • Consecrate yourself to Mary (following this guide) or to St. Joseph (via this book)
  • Celebrate some of the feast days of December. There are some big ones! And remember, Mary, St. Joseph, and the Saints don't divert our attention from Jesus, they point us toward him!

What I'm Reflecting On --
The fact that we test the bodies of our children before birth for imperfections. If we find them, we destroy them. Generations will look back in bewilderment at the utter savagery, cruelty, and selfishness of the wealthiest nations of the 21st century. Of those babies diagnosed with down syndrome in the womb:

  • 100% are aborted in Iceland
  • 98% in Denmark
  • 67% in the United States

Our world is being stripped of love, joy, and beauty. This lethal discrimination must end.

Which Diocese We Should Be Thanking --
The diocese of Brooklyn, for standing up for religious freedom. "The U.S. Supreme Court issued an injunction late Wednesday blocking New York’s governor from enforcing 10- and 25-person occupancy limits on religious institutions..." That's a big deal because in May and July, the Supreme Court narrowly rejected challenges to virus-related restrictions on churches in California and Nevada. Thanks to Justice Barrett, it seems like the tide has shifted. Justice Neil Gorsuch had it spot when he said, "At the same time, the Governor has chosen to impose no capacity restrictions on certain businesses he considers “essential.” And it turns out the businesses the Governor considers essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores. Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too. So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians. Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?" Monsignor Charles Pope wrote a brilliant article about the "9 Ways Catholics Should Respond to the Threat of covid-19 Church Shutdowns" that everyone should read. If having access to receive the source and summit of life (see 1324) isn't considered essential, I don't know what is. Did you hear what happened at a hospital in Marietta, Ohio? They refused to allow Fr. Josh Erickson, a priest of the Steubenville Diocese, to give last rites to a dying man. Fr. Josh then preached a homily about it, and the danger modern secularism poses to Christianity. There is much applause at the end... A doctor who works at the hospital hears the homily, and gets the hospital to change its policy. Viva Cristo Rey!

Have a wonderful weekend and may God bless you and your family!

David Yingling started his weekly “Five Faith Friday” emails when the Coronavirus forced an end to his in-person “Pints & Prayers” gatherings, which he describes as “Men striving to deepen their faith over a cold one.” He’s a member of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish in Easton.


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