Advent 2012: Pray - Study - Act
In This Issue
PRAY: Reflection for Fourth Sunday of Advent
STUDY: Building a nonviolent culture after Newtown
ACT: Bring back the Assault Weapons Ban
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Fourth Week of Advent/Christmas Week, 
Dec. 23-29, 2012
Greetings of peace!  
The season of Advent is drawing to a close, and Christmas is less than a week away. This will be the final Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin of the Advent season, although we'll continue to send you reflections for various upcoming holy days, including Christmas, Epiphany and others. We hope that these e-bulletins have been helpful in supporting your community's, your family's and your own efforts to pray, study and act during this holy season.
For additional Advent resources, including links to all previous PSA e-bulletins and reflections, we hope you'll visit our Advent resource page on the website.


In peace,

Johnny Zokovitch
Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA
 PRAY: Dec. 23, Fourth Sunday of Advent
By Doris Donnelly  

Micah 5:1-4a | Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 | Hebrews 10:5-10 | Luke 1:39-45


The fourth week of Advent functions as a Grand Pause and returns us to the early days of Mary's pregnancy. The altered time sequence moves us back, in the closing days of this season, to a more contemplative way of being, to roots, to silence, to mystery-all of which have a way of getting sidetracked in the frenzy of preparations for the celebration. The fourth Sunday says-again and more emphatically-Be still. Let what is about to happen sink in.


Be still enough to listen to the story as if for the first time. Mary and Elizabeth recognize that Yahweh's promise for each of them has borne fruit. In the excitement, the unborn John leaps in Elizabeth's womb. Curiously, the word used in scripture to designate the leaping means "an exultant delight in the liberating God."


The leap of joy in Elizabeth's womb may be a conventional and even accidental biological response of the shifting of weight in utero; it may be the result of the bonding of Mary and Elizabeth and her unborn; or it could even be more than these things...


Building a nonviolent culture after Newtown

By Ken Butigan


The December 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. that left 28 people dead - including 20 children - has sent shock waves through our society. It penetrated the elaborate defenses that we as individuals and as a culture have erected to live with the internal contradictions of the bargain we have made to both oppose and embrace violence. Occasionally reality exposes and trumps the cognitive dissonance of this uneasy but deeply embedded arrangement.


This is what happened to me Friday when I heard the news about this massacre. As someone who spends a lot of his life grappling with violence of all kinds, I find myself increasingly inured to its horror. When the news breaks, I'm usually concerned and even upset, but my mind typically goes into analytic overdrive, instantly dredging up models and frameworks to unpack and explain it and, perhaps, to think through possible solutions.  This time there was none of that... 


ACT: Bring back the Assault Weapons Ban

from Bud Ryan, Pax Christi New Mexico


We've all unfortunately heard about the tragedy in Newtown, CT where 26 people died, 20 of them young children, where once again gun violence has reared its ugly head. But it's up to "We the People" to finally do something about the 30,000 gun deaths that happen in our country every year and to protect our children and fellow citizens. The only way our elected officials are going to do the right thing and bring back the Assault Weapons Ban and enact other meaningful gun legislation is if we all stand together and push them to do the right thing!


My suggestion is to begin by informing yourself and joining a gun control group. Here are three good ones:

You should also contact Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, who lost her husband in a gun killing in 1993 and gave a fantastic editorial on CBS Sunday Morning about gun violence.


It is up to us to be the conscience and driving force to finally get all our politicians to do the right thing.


Call your Member of Congress and your two Senators and tell them that you want them to vote to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban and that you will remember their actions at the next election. You should also write letters to them (handwritten ones are the best) telling them your desire for them to work to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban and other sensible gun legislation and that you will remember what they did come election time.