We wish you a Mary’s Christmas!
We have only a few weeks until the birth of Christ. All focus is on Jesus’ Birthday. But in this month of December, the Catholic Church celebrates has two major celebrations that focus on his Mother – Mary. December 8th, we had the Holy Day of Obligation to celebrate the Immaculate Conception. Today – December 12, we celebrate one of the most popular devotions, especially for Spanish Speaking countries, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
While some may question, why such a focus on Mary instead of Jesus, the Church teaches that Jesus’ mother helps to prepare for the coming of Christ. Her presence in Scripture offers profound theological reflection for Christians. But, without turning this E-Blast into a Mariology class, it’s important to remember that a pregnant woman prepares for the birth of her baby unlike any other member of the family. Since Mary is the mother of Jesus, she knew Him intimately for nine months in her womb. She would feed Him with her very body. She would be there at the first miracle (a food miracle) when Jesus turned water into wine. She would be the first Christian invited to the banquet of the Lamb of God in the feast of the Assumption.
While many prepare for the Birth of Christ by getting gifts for family members, Mary seeks to prepare room in our hearts to love Him. And she invites us to clean our hands and our souls (through the sacrament of Confession) so that we can eventually hold Him. In other words, Mary wants to give US a gift: the gift of the Life that is in her womb.
This message is perfectly captured in today’s feast day, Our Lady of Guadalupe. This devotion has a very special place in my heart, because I had the incredible opportunity to actually visit the vault that holds this ancient tilma that bears the image of Jesus’ mother. The history, the facts and the inspiration of this incredible image are purely miraculous. The story of this image is so powerful that it should be told, not just in words or in a book, but on the big screen!
That’s why I want to invite you to a special screening of The Blood & The Rose from award- winning producer, Tim Watkins. He is also the Executive Producer of Grace Before Meals. This film is more than a movie or docudrama. It’s a history lesson, homily, meditation, and work of art. The screening will be held in Washington D.C., the night before the March for Life. I will also be there to give a talk to help introduce this incredible movie. Please come and celebrate life that came from the Virgin Mother’s womb and placed it in our hearts, minds, and souls – as food – to save us and bring us to Heaven.
Your messages, comments, questions, and critiques help us engage with our subscribers, and they inspire us to keep our movement alive and strong.
Do you want to give the Grace Before Meals movement a “gift?”
Then give a gift to family, friends, and fellow parishioners. Helps us grow our movement by
1) Giving our GBM products as Christmas gifts;
2) Encouraging family, friends, and church parish members to sign up for the free weekly E-mail Blasts;
3) Consider “sponsoring” a month worth of e-mail blasts by donating money to advertise your company, movement, or website to our thousands of subscribers;
4) Ask your pastor or church leadership to host an event where Fr. Leo can perform a cooking demonstration, lead a retreat, and offer a book signing;
5) and most importantly, pray for us!
Read a testimony from a couple who used Spicing Up Married Life to strengthen their marriage:
Recently my husband and I were going through some difficult times. On one particular day, things were not going well for us and I decided I needed to spend some time in adoration. I spent about 30 minutes in the chapel asking God for help and guidance; I left the chapel at peace, but with no answers. My husband had called to see how adoration had gone and I told him it went well, but “no lightning bolts or great ideas to help us”. I headed home and realized I did not have anything for dinner, except the hamburger I had defrosted. I looked through a couple cookbooks and saw your new book – Spicing Up Married Life. After looking through the index, I found the recipe for Sweet potato shepherds pie and started to make it. After getting the dinner started, I sat down with the cookbook and wanted to see what chapter the Shepherd’s pie came from. What a shock I had when I saw the chapter title – The Honeymoon is over – good thing I was sitting down. I started reading and felt the lightning bolt I was looking for during adoration. I called my husband and told him about the book and instead of discussing our current situation, would he mind if we read the chapter together after he got home. He agreed and we sat down for about an hour- we read, talked and prayed. It was great and although there are always going to be issues and challenges, we started some great communication that was desperately needed. Just wanted to share a success story for your book and some divine intervention once again brought through breaking bread together –
Share this gift with the ones that you love and help bring them together in faith and love…and food.
Let Us Pray:
Father in Heaven, You gave us Mary to be our spiritual mother. May her prayerful intercession, virtue, and holy example inspire us to love Jesus as she loves Him, and may our faith in Jesus help us also to learn to love Mary, His Mother, as He loves her. Amen.
SUML and GBM both reviewed by Plan To Eat!
Plan to Eat, a popular blog that shares recipes and ideas for meal planning has shared their review of not only Spicing Up Married Life, but also Grace Before Meals, and even had a contest to give away a copy of SUML. Congratulations to Julie D of Wisconsin! Read the review here and also read about the reviewer’s time with Fr. Leo’s Creamy Vegetable Soup here.
The USCCB recommends Spicing Up Married Life ‘For Your Marriage’
Foryourmarriage.org is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to help save relationships and marriages by providing them with proper guidance and tips from a Catholic perspective. In other words, its the perfect fit to share Spicing Up Married Life! Check out their review by clicking here.
Back in Fr. Leo’s old stomping grounds, the Frederick News-Post, Frederick county’s premiere local paper, had a chance to interview Fr. Leo and share information on his newest book. Additionally, they share two of the recipes from SUML, so check out their review on GBM.com.
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