“Every year Advent reminds us that grace—and that is God’s will to save man—is more powerful than sin.”
Saint Pope John Paul II
We come once again to Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year and the great season of waiting. The Christian life has a permanent Advent quality, for we are always expecting the coming of the Lord. Now, Jesus came, He will definitively come, and He is coming even now—for the risen Lord wants to take up residence in us today. So Advent is, perhaps most immediately, a preparation for that coming; we are getting ourselves ready to receive the Christ who wants, even now, to be born in us. May the moments below assist us in our prayer, penance and hope for our Lord Jesus to be born anew in us.
The waiting of Advent can be a time filled with great family activities and memories. Jackie and Bobby share some activities for Advent that have helped make the season more meaningful in their family. Maybe something they do will make perfect sense for you and you household.
This Advent season, walk with Dr. Tim Gray on a journey of renewal to ready your heart for the coming of Christ. Each day of Advent, Dr. Gray will unpack the meaning of this season and its rich traditions, as well as offer practical advice for making this Advent your best yet.
Welcome to this great journey of Advent, the liturgical season of vigilance—or, to put it more mundanely, of waiting.
Waiting is very hard for most of us. I suppose we human beings have always been in a hurry, but modern people especially seem to want what they want when they want it. We are driven, determined, goaloriented, fast-moving. I, for one, can’t stand waiting. So when I’m told that waiting seems to belong to the heart of the spiritual life, I’m not pleased, for here, too, I want answers, direction, clarity–and I want them pronto.
So what sense can we make of the countercultural and counterintuitive spirituality of vigilance? The first thing we have to realize is that we and God are, quite simply, on different timetables. “To you, O Lord, a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). What is a long time to us is an instant for God.
Also, is it possible that we are made to wait because the track we are on is not the one God wants for us? G.K. Chesterton said that if you are on the wrong road, the very worst thing you can do is to move quickly. Maybe we’re forced to wait because God wants us seriously to reconsider the course we’ve charted, to stop hurtling down a dangerous road.
Or perhaps we are made to wait because we are not yet adequately prepared to receive what God wants to give us. Saint Augustine argued that the purpose of unanswered prayer is to force an expansion of the heart. And even if we desire with sufficient intensity what God wants to give, we still might not be ready to integrate a particular grace into our lives or to handle the implications of it.
So may we embrace the spirituality of Advent, and may we spend these holy days together waiting–in prayer, penance, and hope–for the appearance of Christ our Savior.
St. Ignatius was a master of practical prayer and recommended making a daily examination of the consciousness, whereby one reviews the day, at the end of the day, in the presence of the Lord. St. Ignatius directs people to spend most of their time reflecting not on sins, but on the blessings of the day. The following link is a summary of the Examen as presented by Father Gaitley, MIC.
Why it is so many Catholics don’t go to the sacrament of reconciliation? There is a relationship between confession and the Eucharist. To help alleviate fear around going to confession here are tips on how to make a good confession.