The Word Among Us

Advent 2017 Issue

Do You See What I See?

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Publisher's Letter

Pray for Peace, People Everywhere

The Christmas song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker in 1962. The song has sold tens of millions of copies. What most people do not know is that Regney and Baker wrote this song in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the looming threat of a nuclear war. The song is less about celebrating the birth of Jesus and more about a call to “pray for peace” and to ask this child who “shivers in the night” to “bring us goodness and light.” More »


What Do You See?

All day long we see thousands of things: trees, buildings, cars, our family, coworkers, images on the television or computer. Our eyes help us appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. They help us get to where we want to go, and they help keep us from crashing into things or falling down the stairs along the way—all because of the countless things we see. More »

Praying with Mary and the Angel

One way you can deepen your faith during Advent is to take some time to read and ponder the Christmas stories in the Bible (Matthew 1:18–2:23; Luke 1:5–2:52). Let these stories tell you how deeply God wants to be with you. Let them show you the lengths to which he has gone to rescue you from sin and bring you to heaven. More »

Do You See What Mary Sees?

Nazareth was a small village. With a population of no more than 400 at the time of Jesus and an area of about 10 acres, the entire village could fit comfortably inside St. Peter’s Square in Rome and still have plenty of land left over. It lay only about three miles from Sepphoris, one of Galilee’s wealthiest and most cultured cities, but Nazareth itself was mainly a quiet farming community. It was considered so inconsequential that when Nathanael heard that Jesus had come from there, he asked, almost mockingly, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46). More »

Special Feature

Surprised by Brotherhood

When I was in the seminary, faculty members would often tell me that I would learn invaluable lessons from priests throughout my life. I expected that to be true, and it was. But what I didn’t expect was how many lessons I would learn from ministers from other faith traditions. When I joined the chaplain corps of the US Navy, I was no longer working next to priests. I was on a ship with sailors and chaplains from many different backgrounds. Friends had warned me I might have to defend my Catholic faith to the other chaplains, but I found just the opposite was true. More »

Resting in My Mother’s Arms

Prayer intentions pile up. Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy, but perhaps a relative is dying, or a relationship is crumbling. Maybe an illness is preventing you or someone you love from enjoying the end-of-the-year festivities. You are trying to be a good, responsible Catholic, but you feel overwhelmed by all the needs. So you pray, “Give me a hand, Jesus!” More »

Meditations of Saint John XXIII

Pope John XXIII composed meditations on the mysteries of the Rosary on a retreat during his later years. His reflections on the Joyful Mysteries-the events surrounding Jesus' birth and early life-serve as excellent food for meditation and prayer during the Advent and Christmas seasons. More »

An Apostle of Peace

Clear, bright stars sparkled outside Angelo Roncalli’s window on Christmas Eve of 1902. As merrymakers reveled in the streets of Rome, his fellow seminarians lay asleep in their beds. The future pope, however, sat at his desk pondering the birth of Jesus. At age twenty-one, he had just completed a grueling year of military service in the Italian National Army, and now he wanted nothing more than to pray and get back into the rhythm of seminary life. More »