- take a photo every day and upload them to ShutterCal each week
- pray the Rosary every day
- remember that this life is only a pilgrimage to heaven
- speak to a priest about vocation… and hopefully get to talk to the Archbishop about consecrated virginity
- take time everyday to do something that I really enjoy, to do something for me
- be the best person I can be, the person God wants me to be
O Immaculata, what were your thoughts when for the first time you placed the Divine Infant on his bed of straw? What feelings inundated your heart while you wrapped him in swaddling clothes, held him to your heart, and nursed him at your breast?
You knew very well who the Child was, because the prophets had spoken of him, and you understood them better than all the Pharisees and the learned Scripture scholars. The Holy Spirit had given to you infinitely more enlightenment than to all the other souls together. Besides, how many of the mysteries of Jesus were revealed only and exclusively to your immaculate soul by the Divine Spirit that lived and operated in you!
Already, at the moment of the Annunciation, the Most Holy Trinity, through the ministry of an angel, had presented to you, in all its clarity, its plan of redemption, and had awaited your response. At that moment you knew perfectly to whom your consent was being given and whose Mother you were to be!
And there he was before you, in his newborn fragility.
What feelings of humility and love, and of gratitude must have filled your heart… while you marveled at the humility, the love, and gratitude that God incarnate showed you.
I beg you to fill my heart too with your humility, your love, and your gratitude.
The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.
Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarch, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.
Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.
Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to your Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If He should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow your would begin to seek Him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. ‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord,’ she says, ‘be it done to me according to your word.
from a homily in Praise of the Virgin Mother by Saint Bernard, abbot
from the Office of Readings for December 20th