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Advent

Need A Miracle? Try The Saint Andrew Novena!

Join Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak every Monday thru Friday on Spirit In The Morning on Holy Spirit Radio

One of my favorite devotions, The Saint Andrew Novena, begins on November 30! It is piously believed that whoever recites this prayer fifteen times a day from the Feast of Saint Andrew (November 30) until Christmas will obtain what is asked. Does this mean that God will give you anything, even something that may be harmful to you spiritually? Fortunately, no! However, I have received miraculous favors since I started praying this novena a few years ago and I believe in its power.

Here’s EWTN’s Fr. Joseph Mary speaking about his personal experience with the St. Andrew Novena:

Here is the novena prayer:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

In addition to the spiritual benefits, it’s a GREAT way to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Why not give it a try? If you want to find out more, listen to Spirit In The Morning on Wednesday, November 30. I’ll be discussing it in greater detail.

It’s Time For The Saint Andrew Novena!

 

One of my favorite devotions, The Saint Andrew Novena, begins on Monday (November 30)! It is piously believed that whoever recites this prayer fifteen times a day from the Feast of Saint Andrew (November 30) until Christmas will obtain what is asked. Does this mean that God will give you anything, even something that may be harmful to you spiritually? Fortunately, no! However, I have received miraculous favors since I started praying this novena a few years ago and I believe in its power.

Here’s EWTN’s Fr. Joseph Mary speaking about his personal experience with the St. Andrew Novena:

Here is the novena prayer:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

We’ll be praying this novena every night until Christmas on The Gary Zimak Show on Blogtalkradio. In addition to the spiritual benefits, it’s a GREAT way to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Why not give it a try?

The Advent Radio Retreat Begins On Monday…Are You Ready?


 

Catholic Speaker and Author Gary Zimak is preparing to host his annual Advent Radio Retreat

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

Are you ready to meet Jesus? Not only when He comes again in glory, not only at the end of your life, but TODAY? Advent is a time of preparation. It is a chance to do some housecleaning so that we’re ready to open the door when Jesus comes to visit. On Monday (December 1), I’ll once again be leading my annual Advent Radio Retreat on The Gary Zimak Show on BlogTalkRadio. There is no cost, nothing to buy, only takes 30 minutes a night, and you don’t even have to leave your home!

The world tells you that you have to start preparing for Christmas by shopping, partying, cleaning and baking. The Church reminds us that we also need to prepare for Jesus. I know it’s difficult, but time spent with the Lord is never wasted. I hope you’ll be able to join me on Monday at 8 PM and I’ll even save a chair for you. You can listen to the show by visiting my BlogTalkRadio page or my website.

Could this be your last Advent? Maybe, or maybe not. If you treat it like it is, you have nothing to lose!

What If This Is Your Last Advent?


 

Catholic speaker, author and radio host Gary Zimak announces the Following The Truth Advent Radio Retreat

Whether we like it or not, one of these Advents seasons will be our last. Could it be this year?

The Church teaches that Advent “makes present the ancient expectancy of the Messiah” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 523), but for many of us Advent gets lost in the shuffle as we prepare for Christmas. When was the last time you made use of the four weeks of Advent to prepare to welcome Christ more deeply into your life? If you’re like most people, you’re probably way too busy baking, shopping and running around to focus on spiritual matters during the Advent season. But what if this year is your last Advent on earth? Are you prepared to tell the Lord that you had more important things to do than spending some time trying to get to know Him better?

Beginning on December 1 at 8 PM Eastern on The Gary Zimak Show on BlogTalkRadio, I will be leading an Advent Radio Retreat. Every Monday-Friday for 30 minutes, we’ll look at Scripture and discuss ways to better prepare to welcome the Savior more deeply into our lives. In addition to Biblical readings, I’ll be using some rare material from out of print books all designed to bring you and Christ closer together. Simply put, there is no other Catholic radio show that will present a retreat like this. Best of all, there is no cost, you don’t have to purchase any books and you won’t even have to leave your home!

Want to learn more? Tune in tonight (Monday, November 10) at 8 PM Eastern as I discuss more about our Advent Radio Retreat. If you miss the live broadcast, you can listen to the archived podcast (after the show airs) by clicking here.

How important is it for you to grow closer to Christ this Advent? Are you willing to invest 30 minutes a night? I look forward to you being a part of this retreat. Please share the invitation with your friends and email me with any questions.

God Bless,
Gary

Are you looking for a speaker for Lent of 2015? I still have a limited number of dates available and I would be honored to speak at your parish or conference. Please contact me ASAP to inquire about availability. In addition to my new Give Up Worrying For Lent talk, a list of my most popular topics can be found here.

Summary Of Advent Radio Retreat


 

Congratulations! You made it through the Following The Truth Advent Radio Retreat. During the busiest time of the year, you set aside one hour each night (or most nights, anyway) to focus on putting Jesus first in your life. Not only is that a great accomplishment, but it’s something that made the Lord very happy. You should feel very good about that. Let’s briefly review what we learned and, more importantly, let’s look at where we go from here.

According to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Lord should come first in our lives and everything else should be second. During the retreat, we focused on several obstacles that keep that from happening. I reviewed each of these obstacles in the last newsletter, so now let’s look at what we can do to live what we learned in the retreat.

1. Trust – We can trust the Lord by patiently accepting everything that happens to us. Although this isn’t easy (especially if we like to be in control), it’s a great way to console the heart of Jesus. A great prayer for this is, “O Jesus, I surrender this to you. You take care of it”.

2. Acts Of Mercy – Every time we do this we console the heart of Jesus. Fr. Gaitley mentioned 3 ways that these acts of mercy can be performed:

Deed – Do kind deeds for others.
Word – Offer kind words to others.
Prayer – Pray for others.

3. Pray Daily – Even if it’s only for a few minutes, we need to get into the habit of speaking to Jesus every day. Obviously, the more you pray, the closer you’ll get to the Lord. Therefore, I recommend that you try to pray as much as possible, but don’t set unrealistic goals. Two hours of daily prayer for a busy person is not realistic. Try to get into the habit of speaking to Jesus throughout the day, especially during the Hour of Mercy (3 – 4 PM).

4. Receive The Sacraments – Make an effort to receive the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession as frequently as possible. You will not only console the heart of Jesus, but you will receive many graces!

5. Spiritual Reading – We should get into the habit of doing some spiritual reading each day. Be realistic when setting your goals. If you’re not used to this, start out with 15 minutes a day. The Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are a great place to start.

Finally, as a sign of your commitment and a reminder of reminder of what we learned, Fr. Gaitley recommends that you print and sign the following pledge:

I_____________________________, on this day ______________ , choose as my principle and foundation to console the Heart of Jesus. Dear Jesus, relying on your grace and the prayers of Mary and of all the angels and saints, I will strive to keep before my eyes the deep sorrow of your Heart and respond, with Mary, by consoling you in the following two ways: First, I will give you my trust. Jesus, I trust in you. I will try not to be afraid of going to you as I am (ecce), even when my sins and weaknesses weigh heavily upon me. With an open heart, I choose to accept your mercy (fiat), even all that mercy other souls reject. Finally, I will do my best to praise and thank you in all things (magnificat), even when you give me the privilege of sharing in your Cross. Second, I will strive to show mercy to my neighbor through my deeds, words, and prayers, remembering that by consoling others, I am also consoling you. Heavenly Father, for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of your Son, I beg you: Send forth your Holy Spirit to help me fulfill this choice.

It has been a great honor to lead this Advent Radio Retreat and I hope you’ll be able to continue listening to Following The Truth on BlogTalkRadio. If you have any questions or concerns at any time, please EMAIL ME. Thank you and may God bless you!

In Christ,
Gary

Need A Miracle? Try The Saint Andrew Novena!


 

One of my favorite devotions, The Saint Andrew Novena, begins tomorrow (November 30)! It is piously believed that whoever recites this prayer fifteen times a day from the Feast of Saint Andrew (Nov 30) until Christmas will obtain what is asked. Does this mean that God will give you anything, even something that may be harmful to you spiritually? Fortunately, no! However, I have received miraculous favors since I started praying this novena a few years ago and I believe in its power.

Here’s EWTN’s Fr. Joseph Mary speaking about his personal experience with the St. Andrew Novena:

Here is the novena prayer:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

We’ll be praying this novena every night until Christmas on my Following The Truth radio show. In addition to the spiritual benefits, it’s a GREAT way to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Why not give it a try?

Advent Is Coming…Get Ready To Get Ready!


 

“We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

Often times we’re too “busy” for spiritual matters, especially during the Christmas season. We’ve got presents to buy, parties to attend, greeting cards to mail and lots of things to do before Christmas. Although the Church tells us that Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation, we tell ourselves that it’s really a figurative preparation. After all, Jesus was already born two thousand years ago. And while we acknowledge that He will come again in glory at the end of the world, we generally assume that it won’t be for a while.

In the above excerpt from one of his sermons, St. Bernard of Clairvaux reminds us of another coming of Christ. It is one that lies between the other two and it’s every bit as real. Unlike the other two comings, however, it is one that we can reject. It is the coming of Christ into our hearts. Are you prepared to welcome him into your heart? That’s what Advent is all about!

Back by popular demand, the annual Following The Truth Advent Radio Retreat will begin on Monday, December 2nd! As in years past, we’ll journey together as we prepare to welcome Christ into our hearts. Each night on my BlogTalkRadio program, I’ll offer meditations designed to help you grow closer to the Lord. In addition, I’ll read and discuss the daily Mass Readings. If you would like to participate in the retreat and receive the weekly email summaries, enter your email address in the following form. Once you register, you will receive an email asking you to confirm your registration. Do not skip this step, as it’s necessary if you wish to receive the email updates.

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This year, we’ll be using the popular book by Fr. Michael Gaitley, Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat- Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
. You can order the book by going to the following link:

Advent is almost upon us. It is a time of preparing to welcome Jesus more deeply into our lives. He is knocking on the door of your heart. Will you answer?

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

(You can listen to the 2013 Following The Truth Advent Radio Retreat HERE.)

Following The Truth Advent Retreat To Begin On December 2nd!


 

It’s that time again!

Back by popular demand, the annual Following The Truth Advent Radio Retreat will begin on Monday, December 2nd! As in years past, we’ll journey together as we prepare to welcome Christ into our hearts. Each night on my BlogTalkRadio program, I’ll offer meditations designed to help you grow closer to the Lord. In addition, I’ll read and discuss the daily Mass Readings.

This year, we’ll be using the popular book by Fr. Michael Gaitley, Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat- Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
. You can order the book by going to the link at the bottom of this post.

Get ready…it’s going to be GREAT!

Avoiding Advent Pitfalls


 

We’re all familiar with the main message of Advent:

“PREPARE!”

As we look back on past Advents, however, most of us have done a rather poor job preparing to welcome Christ. Sure, we’ve prepared for Christmas by buying gifts, decorating and baking and we’ve probably reflected on the Lord’s birth, but have we honestly followed the Church’s instructions to “Prepare the way of the Lord”?

I would guess that most of us would have to admit that we’ve often failed to use the season of Advent as a time of preparation. And why is that? After doing some thinking, I’ve identified two big reasons why we fail to prepare to welcome the Lord.

1. No Need To Prepare – “Why should I prepare when Jesus was already born 2000 years ago?” Does that question sound familiar? It’s a very common and reasonable question and one that we have every right to ask. Every Advent, the Church tells us to prepare, but what’s the point? He’s already been born!

A related concern has to do with Our Lord’s second coming. In the gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, Jesus issued a stern warning:

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.” (Luke 21:34)

When we look at Jesus’ words, we generally think of His glorious second coming. When we do that, the common perception (not one I would recommend, by the way!) is that we’ve got plenty of time. After all, He hasn’t returned for two thousand years, why should we expect Him to return any time soon? When we think like this, just like when we focus on Jesus’ historical birth, we convince ourselves that there is no real reason to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

In reality, the Church gives us the season of Advent so that we will prepare to welcome Jesus spiritually into our lives NOW! Rather than wait to welcome the Lord in the future, we are invited to welcome Him into our hearts right now. Thinking along these lines helps increase our sense of urgency and allows us to use THIS Advent to prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus.

2. We Don’t Have The Time – Certainly, it’s easy to understand why we’re stressed at this time of year. Endless errands, shopping trips and holiday activities leave us little time for our spiritual lives. Although it doesn’t seem to make sense, it’s during the times that we’re busiest that we need to focus on our relationship with the Lord. One of the best Biblical examples of this is found in Jesus’ visit to the home of sisters Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). While Martha actively served and showed hospitality to Jesus, her sister Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching”. In reply to Martha’s desperate appeal for assistance, Jesus answered:

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

In other words, taking some time to listen to the Lord (even while there is much work to be done) is more important than running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Notice that Jesus never said that Martha was wrong for working so hard to show hospitality. He simply pointed out that Mary has chosen the better part. If we take the time to focus on the Lord during this Advent season, He will reward us with the gift of peace.

We never know if this Advent will be our last. Let’s not make the mistake of being unprepared to welcome Him into our lives. Instead, let’s strive to make it the best Advent ever!

Dear Lord – Please increase my desire to welcome you spiritually this Advent. Help me to pause from the activities of my daily life and focus on my relationship with You. Grant me your supernatural peace and the graces that I need to walk with You each day. Amen.

Prepare The Way Of The Lord…An Advent Retreat!


 

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Is 40:3)

How are YOU preparing for the coming of the Lord on Christmas Day?

Beginning on Monday, December 3rd I’ll be conducting an Advent Retreat on my nightly Following The Truth radio program. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave your home! Similar to the Wise Men two thousand years ago, we’ll set out on a journey designed to bring us face to face with the newborn Savior. Each night on the show, I’ll read the daily Mass readings and present various meditations designed to prepare you to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. In addition, I’ll be leading the very popular St. Andrew Novena each night on the show! With all of the craziness of the Christmas season, it’s easy to forget about preparing for the coming of the Lord. During this Year of Faith, why not make a commitment to give Him an hour each night?

As always, there are several ways to listen:

Every Monday-Friday at 8 PM Eastern on BlogTalkRadio

As soon as the show airs, the podcast will then be available in the BlogTalkRadio On Demand archives (free of charge).

The day after the show airs, the podcast will be available in iTunes (free of charge).

If you’re like me, you have let many Advents pass by without preparing spiritually for the Lord’s birth. We can’t do anything about the past, but we can do something about the present. Hope to “see” you on December 3rd. Let’s make this our best Advent ever!