The Christmas Tree
Originally posted in the 'archived' Catacombs by the member Initiation:

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As the season of Advent and Christmas is upon us, I thought I would share something I had read in a catechism done by Sisters in the SSPX a long time ago.

Quote:"Everything we we see and bear around us seems to say that something special will happen soon. The store windows are full of decorations; the people are shopping for gifts and cards; the houses glow with colorful lights; and music is playing on the street. What is going on? Why all this hustle and bustle? Of course it is because Christmas is coming!

Students, what is Christmas? It is the great celebration of Our Lord's birthday. No birthday could be more important than His, for if God had not become man, we would have no hope of going to heaven. How many even think of the Infant Jesus? How many even know when His birthday is? How many remember that before Christmas comes, there is Advent, and that the most important thing to do during Advent is to prepare our hearts for our Savior's birth?

You know that almost every family puts up a beautiful Christmas tree in its home. This tree is a symbol of Christ, the true "tree of life," who by His death on the tree of the cross gained for us the fruit of eternal life. The tree points straight to heaven to remind us of the first and greatest commandment of all: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength." Its branches extend on all sides to remind us of the second great commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as Thyself." A Christmas tree is usually an evergreen which calls to mind that Our Lord is always the same; He never changes.

Before a Christmas tree is put up, a woodsman removes all its dead branches. To make our souls ready for Christ's coming, we must cut away everything which is ugly and displeasing in God's sight. You know what He hates most of all - SIN. Our Lord cannot be happy in a soul which is full of sin. The bad branches in our souls are our sins.

Think about what kind of bad branches you have, and which ones are the most displeasing to God. If you disobey, lie, cheat, talk back, swear, skip your prayers, steal, neglect your chores, ruin the property of are keeping Christ from your heart. Your soul is saying to Him, "There is no room for Thee in this inn." Students, cut off these bad branches during Advent. If you are moody, picky at the table, mean to others, jealous of their talents...then you have some work to do before your hearts will be pure and ready for Christmas.

But is it enough to get rid of all these dead branches? No, to make a Christmas tree more beautiful, we put candles or lights on it, for Christ is the "light of the world." We also add glittering decorations and ornaments which symbolize His virtues and His great glory. And what about preparing our souls? Is it enough that they be free from sin? No, they must also be strong and beautiful in virtue. The lights and ornaments on the tree are the virtues that make our souls pleasing to God. We practice virtue by doing what the Child Jesus us to do at every moment. We decorate our souls by our desires to have Our Lord come. "Come, O Lord, visit us in patience!" We need Him so over and over.

Yes, candles have always been a way of honoring Our Lord. They give warmth and light. Light is pure. It is said of Our Lord that He is a light "to enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death." The Messiah has come, indeed, to save us from the darkness of sin and to bring us to the glory of heaven.

Each of our souls is like a candle which is lit by grace. Its flame burns more brightly whenever we receive the sacrament, make sacrifices, or perform acts of virtue. The more we love God, the bigger and brighter the flame is. The more we love God, the bigger and brighter the flame is. Love makes our candles burn and keeps them burning. Sin, on the other hand, makes our candles smoke and may even put out their flames completely.

Every day during Advent, the four weeks before our Savior's birthday, we are going to try to make our souls ready. For example:

- I will promptly and cheerfully obey my parents at home and my teachers at school, doing what they ask right away and without complaining.
- I will be charitable to my companions (especially those we need kindness the most).
- If someone hurts me, instead of giving a quick, sharp answer that will hurt back, I will forgive him and do a good deed in return.
- I will make a good confession and to make a firm resolution not to offend God again.
- I will prepare myself better to receive Holy Communion, and be more collected during my thanksgiving.
- To spend Advent in a more holy way, I will not go to parties, or celebrate Christmas before December 25th.

The more generous we are in preparing to welcome Jesus when He comes into our hearts on Christmas day, the more grace our souls will be able to receive from Him. He will know all the sacrifices and secret acts of virtue we have made for Him during Advent and will reward us in the depths of our hearts. Knowing that He is pleased will give us great happiness."

Our Lady of Fatima correspondence catechism - Year F
2004 by Sisters of the Society of Saint Pius X
Browerville MN U.S.A
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A reminder ...
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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