A Season of Mercy

“Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18:39b

The month of December we see people hustling and bustling getting ready for Christmas, and there is a lot of joy that comes with this time of year.  However, this time of year is also difficult for a lot of people. They may be mourning the loss of a loved one or feeling alone and depressed. Whatever the reason, we need to remember the hope that comes from the mercy of God.

God’s mercy is all around us, and no matter how far we feel from Him or others, God is always near. This Advent and Christmas Season may we take a moment to think about the people in our lives that we have pushed away or have wronged.  When considering those people, we may also think about people who have hurt us, and ask ourselves “How can I take a step in forgiving them? How can I take a step in showing them hope?  How can I take a step in showing them mercy?”  Taking this step may not be easy.  The blind man called out to Jesus “Son of David, have mercy on me!” and the people around told him to be quiet and to stop calling out.  But Jesus heard his call and asked him what he wanted.  The blind man said that he wanted to see.

This Christmas Season may we find the faith, hope, and mercy of God!  May we not be afraid to ask God, and the people around us, for help, when we are struggling.  Whether we already have the Joy of the season within our hearts, or if we are striving to see that hope; may we genuinely find the gift of mercy this holiday season.

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In Everything Give Thanks

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:16-18

In everything that we say and do we should give thanks to God!  The month of November is here, and it is a time of giving thanks for the blessings in our lives.  There is a distinct turning point that seems to happen within the monastery during November.  The solemnity of All Saints on November 1 welcomes this shift within my spirit each year as we celebrate first Vespers on October 31.  The sun has almost set, and the Basilica is adorned with the relics of the saints.  The monks are lining up for the procession into church and there a sense of calm as one contemplates the Saints that have gone before us.  On the feast of All Saints, I give thanks to God for my vocation as a monk and priest of Conception Abbey.

As we move through the month of November, we are reminded of all the souls that have gone before us into the Eternal Kingdom.  During the first week of November I like to walk through our cemetery and pray for the monks who have died.  I also give thanks to God for their vocation, and for the work that they had done to make Conception Abbey a beautiful place to live and worship Him.

The week of Thanksgiving all the monks on mission come home for meetings and to celebrate the jubilee of profession or priest of confreres celebrating.  The junior monks put together a program to honor those monks who have dedicated their lives to the work of God.  Of course, Thanksgiving Day is the highlight as we give thanks to God for the many blessings we have received, with the celebration of the Eucharist, and then move to the dining room to give thanks with a delicious meal.

My brothers and sisters, may we take time these days to be mindful of the many blessing that we have received.  May we take time to recognize that God is at work within each and everyone of us.  May we take time to pray, and most importantly may we take time to give thanks.  On behalf of all the monks and the staff at The Printery House; we would like to wish you all a Blessed and Thankful, Thanksgiving Day!

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Personalize Christmas Cards in a Matching Color

Have you ever wanted to personalize Christmas Cards with your own text and have it match the color of the text that is already there? Now you can! 

On cards enabled for Online Designing which have a colored inside text, we now provide a color palette so that you can select the exact color of the inside text.

In the Online Designer for the selected card, under Font Color, click the “Choose” button:

Use the Choose button under Font color to open the Color Palettes.

In the box that pops up, you will see a color palette with one or more Inside Text colors:

The Color Palette Tab allows you personalized your card with the exact matching text color.
Click the color box to choose the color.

If you prefer, you can still select the CMYK tab to choose any color you want for your personalization. (Note that this does not change the color of the text that is part of the card design.)

Choose any color text to personalize Christmas cards.
Click in the color box, slide the spectrum slider, or enter CMYK numbers to specify an exact color.

If you decide you’d rather go back to black, click the revert button:

This button will revert the color to black.

Using our online designer to personalize Christmas cards is a great way to save time. It adds a personal touch, but you don’t have to write it by hand. It also may be easier to read than your handwriting. Even if you have beautiful handwriting, it is easy to make a mistake when you are writing personal messages on several cards. Let us add your personal message for you. You can still sign the cards and add individual notes before you send them.  

Remember, starting this year all of our personalized cards and notes are ordered by the piece. Order exactly the number of cards you need (or maybe a few extra). You no longer have to order in multiples of the package quantity. Minimum orders apply.

Click here to learn more about personalizing cards.

Happy designing!

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Madonna and Child Portrayed in Art

The Madonna and Child has been a popular subject of art since the Renaissance. The portrayals of Mary with her infant Son were objects of devotion. To learn more, see this article on Madonna and Child artwork from the National Gallery of Art:

In Depth: Madonna and Child

Not surprisingly, every year depictions of the Madonna and Child are among the most popular of our Christmas cards.

Madonna and Child Christmas Card
Madonna and Child of the Trees by Irina Lombardo

However, we also get one or two notes or calls each year from people who are offended by the depiction of the infant Jesus in the nude. If this style of art shocks or offends you, please choose from one of our other designs. But know that this way of depicting our Lord has a long history, and is not meant in any way to offend. It comes from a less sexualized culture which viewed children as innocent and pure. In particular, the portrayal of Christ nude emphasizes his true humanity.

Furthermore, the addition of a halo or nimbus around Christ’s head (not present in all depictions) indicates his divinity. Often, when Christ appears in art with other saints, his nimbus incorporates a cross while the others do not. This distinguishes divinity from human sanctity.

Many depictions of Mary and Jesus focus on their humility and humanity. This kind of imagery makes them more accessible. Take this American piece, for example:

Christmas Card with a tender portrayal of the Holy Family

Religious Christmas art makes people feel connected with God. They can relate to images of a mother and child. Some prefer more traditional images that emphasize the sacred. Others prefer more human, “homey” images. Some like paintings, while others like mosaics. Some like icons or stained glass-style images. Whatever your taste in art, The Printery House has a religious Christmas card for you!

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