Season of Advent

Happy NEW CHURCH YEAR!! As we begin the season of Advent, we are again faced with the challenge to find a place where we can be stilled and at peace in the midst of our daily activities. It is not always an easy task. We often look for a “place” to go which is physically distant from where we live - but, that is not always possible. Our real challenge is to find stillness and peace WHERE we live! Finding time to pause two or three times a day to become deeply aware of God with us opens our spirit to the gift of peace and the acceptance of his ever-present love. God's love must always be first... for we cannot give a love we do not know. Allow this Advent time to be a time of being loved – a discovery in the moments of stillness.

I encourage you to consider attending Mass each day during the Advent journey. Not only seek to grow in your love relationship with the Lord, but also encourage others by gathering with them in daily prayer. Do your best to be faithful in reading the daily reflections in the Advent booklet, “Open Your Heart.” Allow this time to be an ADVENT-ure into God's love.

 

 

The Advent Season invites us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus into our world in new ways. Each of us is called to use this time to consider how we can take small steps to change ourselves and the world. When Pope Francis addressed the U.S. Congress on September 25, 2015, he said: “All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and religion. Our response me be one of hope and healing, of justice and peace. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.”

 

Advent Prayer

 

 God of Love,

Your son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us.

He is a sign of your love.

Help us walk in that love during the weeks of Advent,

As we wait and prepare for his coming.

We pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior.

Amen.

 

Advent Week I – You Do Not Know the Time

Mark 13:33-37

Jesus tells his disciples to “Be watchful! Be alert!” because they do not know when the Lord will come. As we begin the season of Advent, we are reminded that we, too, must be watchful as we wait for the coming of the Lord.

• What am I waiting for this Advent?

• How can I make this Advent season a new beginning?

• How can I pay full attention to the grace of the present, while remembering the past and anticipating the future?

Advent Week II – They Acknowledged Their Sins

Mark 1:1-8

John the Baptist appears in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah that a messenger would appear ahead of the Messiah. One of his messages was to acknowledge humanity’s sinful nature and encourage repentance. This same call is extended to each of us this Advent.

• How can I use this Advent season as a way to grow more deeply in my faith?

• How long has it been since my last confession?

• Am I more caught up in the cultural expression of the “holiday season” than I am of the “holy day season”?

Advent Week III – Make Straight the Way of the Lord

John 1:7-8, 19-28

When the priests and Levites demanded to know who John was, he didn’t answer them in the way they wanted. Instead, he quoted Isaiah, saying that he was “the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.”

• Where am I in my journey of faith this Advent?

• What are some ways that I can express the joy of Gaudete Sunday with my family and friends?

• What is one thing I can commit to praying about this Advent season?

Advent Week IV – Son of the Most High

Luke 1:26-38

Mary said “yes” when Gabriel announced she had been chosen to be the mother of the Savior, even though she had no real idea of what lay ahead. She was willing to accept God’s plan for her life.

• Is there something in my life I am resisting? How can Mary’s example help me become more accepting of God’s plan?

• What can I do this last week of Advent to prepare myself for the mystery of Christmas?

• What habits or attitudes have I developed this Advent that I would like to take with me for the rest of the year?