How is Advent going for you? Are you preparing a way for the Lord?
Are you giving yourself a chance to see the presence of the Lord? God gives a
different grace in each season of the liturgical year. During this season of
Advent God has a grace to give you. When Jesus was entering Jerusalem for the
last time he cried because the people of Jerusalem did not recognize the time
of their visitation (Luke 19:41-42). They would miss out on the grace of God.
Let us not miss out on the time of our visitation. To use the words of John the
Baptist in the desert, are you making a straight way for the visitation of God?
Are you receiving the grace God is offering you this Advent? This Advent is a
time when God will visit you if you allow him. So how is Advent going for you?
If you have not yet begun to make a straight way for the Lord to receive his
grace begin today. It is never too late to begin.
How might you receive the grace God is offering you this Advent?
Spend more time in prayer with God this Advent. Spend time with God searching
for the answers to your problems. You look forward to spending time with a
loved one. Look forward with anticipation to spending time with God in prayer
each day during Advent. Instead of just going through the motions during this season
of Advent can you celebrate Advent with your heart? May I suggest that you use theScripture readings for daily Mass for
your prayer and meditation. There are also many books
available with Advent reflections. If Advent is only a time of consumerism and
buying gifts for people that they don’t really want or need, it is flying in
the face of what Jesus is all about. There is only one gift at Christmas, that
gift is Jesus. (Where’s
the line to see Jesus?) Jesus is the grace that the Father wants to
give to you this Advent. The Father is always willing to give, but it is up to
you to unwrap the Father’s gift of Jesus to you. Advent is a time to renew and
deepen our relationship with God. It is a time of patient waiting for God,
prayerful and trustful waiting for God. Because this season of Advent is so
important the Church gives us four weeks to celebrate it and in the Orthodox
Churches the season of Advent is even longer, it is 40 days like our season of
Lent. Celebrate Advent with your heart, it is an opportunity to step back from
the consumerism of the materialistic world and make a straight way for the Lord
to receive the special grace God has planned for you this Advent.
To receive the grace God is offering us this Advent let us also
reflect on whether we put God first in our life always. If God is not first, we
are missing out on grace God is offering us. Many people do not like Christmas
because their wishes for happiness are never fulfilled and many are happy when
Christmas has passed. It is a time of year when some people are lonely or depressed
and they try to fill up that loneliness with things. They do not give the
impression of having received the grace that God is offering. Are they seeking
the grace of God or instead seeking something worldly that will never satisfy
like the grace God gives? Nothing in this world will fill the longing in our
hearts for the grace of God. Only Jesus will fill our emptiness. Various Psalms
remind us of this,
the deer that yearns for running streams
So my soul is yearning for you my God.” (Ps 42:1)
God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water. (Ps 63:1-2)
God alone is my soul at rest;
my help comes from him.
He alone is my rock, my stronghold,
my fortress: I stand firm. (Ps 62:1-2)
will not be fulfilled by anything you find under the Christmas tree on
Christmas morning but only by Jesus whom you will meet in the Eucharist on
To receive the grace that God offers us this Advent, as well as spending
much time in prayer with God and putting God first, let us also reflect on
whether our lives are modeled on the life of Jesus whose birth we are about to
celebrate. Is Jesus the one we look to for guidance? Is Jesus the one who is
shaping our life? To receive the grace God offers you this Advent an
examination of conscience is necessary and that is why celebrating the
Sacrament of Reconciliation is an important part of Advent. As we examine our
consciences we recognize that our lives do not model or reflect Jesus and we
want to ask for mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that our hearts can
become a manger to receive Jesus. At the end of this month we will hear a lot
of talk of New Year resolutions. But now, Advent, is the time for making a resolution,
a resolution to live like Jesus whose birth we are about to celebrate. Jesus is
the light of the world and Advent is a time to come out of the darkness and
walk in the light of Jesus.
God gives us a different grace in every liturgical season and God
has a grace to give you this Advent. If Advent is only a time of consumerism
and buying gifts for people that they don’t really want or need, it is flying
in the face of what Jesus is all about. There is only one gift at Christmas,
that gift is Jesus. Jesus is the grace that the Father wants to give to you
this Advent. Let us spend time with God to receive this grace. As we examine
our consciences this Advent and see our shortcomings we are privileged to
receive the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When Jesus was
entering Jerusalem for the last time he cried because the people of Jerusalem
did not recognize the time of their visitation (Luke 19:41-42). Let us not miss
out on the grace God is offering us this Advent.
Fr. Tommy Lane
by Fr. Tommy Lane