In the hustle and bustle of the secular Christmas season, the Catholic Church calls us to prepare our hearts through Advent for Christ’s coming. It is a time to enter into the silence and hope of waiting. Advent is rich in spiritual truths. Christmas trees, lights and decorations seem to show up in stores earlier and earlier. It can be difficult enter into Advent, but a well observed Advent will deepen our joy at Christmas. Advent invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us, signs of the attention he has for each one of us. Pope Benedict XVI said in one of his homilies, “Advent is a time to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas, but also in waiting in alertness for the Second Coming of Our Lord. Advent is a time to look at ourselves and ask if we are truly prepared in heart and mind for the Incarnation. If Christ came again in glory today, would I be ready? Am I a saint?” So now is a good time to make a plan for living Advent fully. But how?
Prayer is an essential part of the spiritual life. It can also be the hardest part of the spiritual life. Thankfully, the catechism reminds us that “prayer is a battle” (CCC 2725). This is a reminder that we are called to persevere, not be perfect in prayer. God will perfect us through our discipline and faithfulness. We must spend regular time in prayer throughout our day. The next few weeks will be full of parties, events, and requirements. If we allow our calendar to control us, then our prayer life will suffer and we will not have the disposition necessary for a deep joy and charity when the Christmas season actually begins, which is at Christmas Eve Mass.
Use Advent to offer your day to God when you get out of bed. Prayer has to be established through habit, just like virtuous living. Make a plan now for prayer time during Advent.
At St Teresa’s beginning from the first week of Advent there will be more opportunities for Confessions from Monday to Friday at 9.30am; special Candlelight Rorate Masses on Fridays (6th, 13th, 20th December) at 7.30pm where we will focus on St Bernard’s teaching about three Advents; Scriptural reflection with Lection Divina on Tuesdays (3rd, 10th, 17th December) at 7.00pm; Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays after Mass until 12noon; and Parish Reconciliation Service on Monday 23rd December at 7.30pm.
Let us use these great opportunities to deepen our faith and let us ask God to guide us more deeply into the beauty of Advent.