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Youth Apostles Online
Newsletter for Catholic Teens : December 2002

Contents:
Advent: A Time of Hope
Psalm 23: He Is With Us
Advent is Synonymous with Hope, by Pope John Paul II


Advent: A Time of Hope

Advent is supposed to be a time of awaiting and hope. The promise of a Savior, one who can truly redeem us and open the gates of Heaven to us, is about to be fulfilled through the birth of Jesus Christ. I don't know about you, but this can seem awfully abstract and distant to me sometimes. What does it all really mean?

I think we can apply the message of Advent by learning to place our hope in Heaven--our true home and resting place--and in Jesus' presence with us in the here and now. That's not easy to do, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, even the most scary situations can be transformed through hope.

I had an experience recently that taught me how to hope in Jesus' presence and to keep my focus on Heaven. My husband and I joyfully discovered that we were pregnant in late October. Wednesday, the day of my first routine doctor appointment, I started to notice symptoms that are sometimes indicative of a miscarriage. Seized by fear, I immediately began to panic. My doctor was able to confirm that the source of my fears was not only accurate, but maybe even worse. He suspected the baby might be stuck in my fallopian tube, which would require immediate surgery. Amidst uncontrollably gut-wrenching sobs, we rushed to the hospital for testing. I was angry and sad and terrified and... without hope. My mind played out scenes of the worst-case scenario: being cut open AND losing our baby. Much to our relief, the tests seemed to show that the baby was not stuck in my fallopian tube, but we still faced the great likelihood of a miscarriage. Heart-bludgeoned and weary, we headed home.

We thought the worst was over, until we got a phone call early Friday morning from my doctor. After looking over the test results, he thought there still might be a need for surgery, and he wanted us back at the hospital immediately for more testing. This time, I turned to Jesus and Mary right away. We prayed a Rosary and a Divine Mercy Chaplet in the car. I was scared, but I knew that He would be with me if I asked Him to be. I knew He could raise me up above my fear and give me hope in things greater than this temporary suffering... like His love, and me & my baby's eventual home in Heaven. I asked Him to carry me this time, and He did. I asked Him to give me a sign that He would be with me, no matter what happened, and he did. On the way to the hospital, about half of a mile from the entrance, my gaze fell upon a billboard that read:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want...
Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil;
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me...
-Psalm 23

I instantly felt His comfort. Even though I was walking in the dark valley, I wasn't afraid, because He was at my side with His rod and His staff. Even though the results were the same, the second trip to the hospital was so different from the first. It was full of hope... in Heaven and in Jesus' presence with me in the here and now.

I challenge you to place your hope in Jesus during this Advent and beyond. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you this supernatural grace to rise above fear and discouragement, so that you may wait confidently for His birth into your heart.

Until next month, I remain...

Your Eucharist loving, Blessed Mother petitioning, rockin' Catholic Church obeying, Pope John Paul II devotee and fellow sinner in need of God's grace and mercy,

Michele TePas
Youth Apostles Online

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Psalm 23: He Is With Us

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil;
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

- Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition


Advent is Synonymous with Hope

Advent is synonymous with hope: not the vain waiting for a faceless god, but concrete and certain trust in the return of him who has already visited us, of the "Spouse" who with his blood has sealed with humanity a pact that is an eternal covenant. It is a hope that stimulates vigilance, the characteristic virtue of this special liturgical season. Vigilance in prayer, fostered by a loving expectation; vigilance in the dynamics of concrete charity, aware that the Kingdom of God comes close whenever men learn to live as brothers.

- Pope John Paul II