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Christmas

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!

Merry Christmas!

 

After their audience with the king, they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. (Matthew 2: 9-12)

Once the magi met Jesus, they traveled back to their country by “another way”. That encounter with the Lord changed their lives forever. This Christmas, we pray that each of you will be able to experience that same life changing meeting with our Lord and Savior. Thank you for all of your prayers and support throughout the year. We are extremely grateful and I look forward to sharing the “Good News” with you in the upcoming year.

May you and your families have a blessed and holy Christmas. You will be in our prayers.

The Zimak Family
(Gary, Eileen, Mary and Elizabeth)

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!

Merry Christmas!

 

After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. (Mt 2:9-12)

Once the magi met Jesus, they traveled back to their country by “another way”. That encounter with the Lord changed their lives forever. This Christmas, I pray that each of you will be able to experience that same life changing meeting with our Lord and Savior. May you and your families have a blessed and holy Christmas. You will be in our prayers.

The Zimak family (Gary, Eileen, Mary and Elizabeth)

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.

The Saint Andrew Novena Begins Today!


 

One of my favorite devotions, The Saint Andrew Novena, begins today! 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?

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!

Merry Christmas!

See, your Lord proclaims to the ends of the earth: say to daughter Zion, your Savior comes! (Isaiah 62:11)

Wishing all of my friends a Blessed and Holy Christmas!  May you and your loved ones be surrounded by the joy and peace that flows from Our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Thank you for all of your prayers and support throughout the year.  I will continue to keep you all in my daily prayers!

Your Brother in Christ,
Gary