Wow, I can not believe it; Advent is once again upon us and we are already a week into this brief and holy season. I mean, isn’t anyone else still wondering what happened to Advent of 2011? Doesn’t it seem like it was just yesterday that we started using the 3rd. Edition of the Roman Missal (recall, it really was a year ago this week)? I guess it is safe to deduce that time really does fly.
So, we now find ourselves in Advent. Advent is a beautiful time of prayer, penance and reflection which the Church gives us to prepare for both the Birth of Christ at Christmas and His Second Coming. However, this season seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. It is truly indicative of our lives here on earth and the ephemeral allotted time they offer us to prepare to meet our Maker.
Advent is all about preparation; particular emphasis is placed on preparation for the coming of Christ in our lives. Most immediately at hand is the celebration of His Birth on Christmas. We remember with great joy the day our Savior was born and began to fulfill the many prophesies of the Old Testament. Yet, Christmas is not the only coming of Christ which Advent prepares us for. As we journey though Advent, we are also readied to meet our Lord when our own lives draw to a close and we are prepared to stand before Jesus at his Second Coming.
In the Catholic tradition, Advent is looked upon as a journey, a spiritual journey through the wilderness. As we cross this spiritual wilderness, we strive to break ties with the fleeting amusements of this passing world and to grow deeper in our relationship with God. We seek to find our substance in his love and mercy as we strive to serenely submit to His sweet yoke. We develop a stronger friendship with Jesus as we strive to submit more readily to His Lordship. When, at Christmas, we at last emerge from the wilderness, we are refreshed and empowered to live our faith with greater zeal.
In addition, Advent is also the beginning of the New Year for the Church. In fact, last Sunday you could have all wished each other a “Happy Liturgical New Year.” Unfortunately, I once again find myself extending my salutations a week late (but that’s besides the point). You know, when we celebrate the secular New Year, we make resolutions. We can do the same during the beginning of the Liturgical New Year.
So as I conclude this post (and hopefully have not left you totally confused with my random thoughts on Advent) I also leave you all with a couple of goals to strive for in the coming weeks:
- Try to deepen your relationship with Our Lord by spending some fixed amount (5-10 Mins. or so) of time in contemplation of His glory and His plan for you.
- Pick up the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours (the prayers said by all the clergy and religious around the world) and spend some time in prayer. Even if you can’t pray the entire Liturgy of the Hours, just look over the really beautiful readings set aside for Advent and contemplate how you can apply them to your life.
- Strive to see the face of Christ in everyone you meet and treat them with the same reverence that you would show the Christ Child.
- Pray the Rosary. I know that phrase seems to get trite sometimes but really the Rosary is such a beautiful and powerful prayer. Never slacken in devotion to this prayer. Especially in Advent, contemplate the Joyful Mysteries.
Please pray for me, as I seek to do all of the above. I know it’s hard – I practically blew every one of my own recommendations today. Still, none of us are perfect. We need each others support and prayers as we all strive on “The Way of Perfection,” to be “Perfect as our Heavenly Father is Perfect.” It is my firm hope and prayer that, refreshed and prepared by our Advent here on earth, we may meet in the Heavenly Kingdom to our Everlasting Salvation.