Twilight Twitches

fetscher"Watch the Road"
Dear Family,
That was the advice of the Oklahoma bus driver who drove 900,000 over 23 years without an accident. When asked how he did it, he replied, “Watch the Road.” Ever since I used that last week in the homily I’ve been thinking about roads, my road in particular. Stay with me now because I think it might get bumpy.

When I just wrote those lines about thinking about my road, I automatically made ‘road’ singular.Then my fingers stopped typing. There is only one me, so only one road, right? As I thought about it, I realized many days I seem to be on a bunch of roads, all going in different directions, so many of them crisscrossing each other, until all you seem to have is a huge giant interchange that really doesn’t get you anywhere.

So looking at all those roads, is there maybe one I can try to get on and stay on? What about Mercy Road? If I can find that road, I know that it can provide me with what could be an interesting journey for at least this next year. You have to admit, having Pope Francis to walk with on Mercy Road wouldn’t be too shabby. And in fact I can, as I pray his Prayer for Mercy each day, and as I
reflect on his words.

The Feast of The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a Holy Day of Obligation. We will celebrate an evening Mass on MONDAY DECEMBER 7th at 6:00 p.m. We will have our regular Mass on TUESDAY DECEMBER 8th at 8:00 a.m.

The first bishop in the United States and the first bishop of Baltimore, John Carroll dedicated the Church in the United States to Mary. In 1846, 23 bishops (as near as I can figure, nearly all the bishops in the then-United States) gathered in Baltimore to make Mary our patroness under the title of the Immaculate Conception.

Eight years later, on Dec. 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX solemnly declared the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be an article of faith.

That declaration came after the Pope had asked the bishops of the world, (1) how great the devotion of the faithful was toward the Immaculate Conception and how great their desire for the definition of this doctrine; and (2) what was the opinion and desire of the bishops themselves.

The American bishops, assembled in the Seventh Provincial Council of Baltimore, May 5-13, 1849, had given a favorable reply to both questions (in decrees I and II, on May 12), informing the Holy Father that the faithful in the United States were animated with a great devotion to the Immaculate Conception, and that they the bishops, would be pleased if the Holy Father declared the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception an article of faith.

I wonder to what decree the request of the American bishops influenced of Pope Pius IX’s decision.

So how did I get from the Road of Mercy to Pius IX to the Immaculate Conception in the lives of us Americans today? I told you it’s all a giant celestial interchange. All I really want to say is that this feast has always for some reason been important to me, and maybe as I tried plowing through a lot of history as well as a lot of wonderful reflection on the implications of the Immaculate Conception, I began to appreciate even more deeply the way things evolve.

I hear the Oklahoma bus driver: “Watch the Road.” Let all the ways in which God is revealing Himself be the center of our focus, and pathway to crib and then cross and then eternal life.

Happy “Coming To” (Advent)!
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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