living liturgically (season one, episode four, advent 2021)

Those who walked in the darkness have seen a great light. Merry Christmas! With the setting of the sun I bid Advent goodbye and embrace the baby in the manger. I have four children of my own, which means they were once infants, but apart from them, I’m not a person who likes babies. I’m glad the baby phase is over in my house and my children are older. Other people’s babies make me uncomfortable, and I have plenty of my own trauma in regards to babies. As I walk through the twelve days of Christmas, it’s time to look at and interact with the baby Jesus, get to know and love the baby Jesus just as much as adult Jesus.

One of the many reasons I’m a grateful Anglo Catholic is that not only do I get to hang with JC, but his mother also. The awesome thing is that Jesus shares his mother with me, so that she can also be my mother. I’m thirty-six years old, I’m estranged from my own mother and there is much trauma there. I’m thankful that Mary is mothering me, and I’m grateful that she took me and all of my personalities on.

This week I learned that Blessed Bartolo Longo, the once occult Satanic priest who reverted back to the Roman Catholic Church was the one whose writings lead to the Luminous Mysteries being added to the rosary. He is known as the Apostle of the Rosary, because it helped him so much in his fight against the evil that still wanted to overcome him, that he not only became devoted to it but he was devoted to sharing it. Sharing and praying the rosary was Bartolo’s mission in life.

I’ve said before that I think Bartolo and I would have been friends if we had lived in the same time, perhaps he would also have been my priest when he was a priest in the service of Satan (please note that I’m referring to Satan and Satanic in the context of the occult and not The Church of Satan who don’t actually worship Satan). In the past calendar year, I’ve had to repent of and renounce a lot of evil things, and it’s overwhelming. I had some more things that I’d carefully kept hidden pop up the other day and I got discouraged and I felt so evil and vile.

The truth is, what I did and what I wanted was evil and vile. The most important part of this story, though, is that Jesus came as an infant, born of the Virgin Mary, he was crucified, died, and was buried, as the creed says. I’ve had to confront my actions and decide to give the whole thing over to Jesus. That’s why he came. I don’t have to be the person I once was, because God came from heaven, to earth, to pay for my dark obsessions and desires. I, like Bartolo, have repented and turned to the Lord, and all of it has been forgiven. I’m not who I was.

What I came to realize, right before Christmas, is that instead of focusing on all the terrible things of the past, I can enter Christmas knowing that Jesus has delivered me from those things, and I can walk in thankfulness and gratitude and share the amazing news of God with us. God with me. Fully God, and fully man. The awkward waiting is over for now, Jesus is here, and the weary world rejoices.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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