Monday, November 30, 2009

The Season of Advent

Dear friends in Christ,

The season of Advent is upon us. This is the holy season where we seek to encounter the living God as He prepares to become human, becoming like us for the sake of our salvation. For God to be truly redemptive, He chose to become Himself human, not because He couldn't be redemptive any other way, but for true redemption, which is an outpouring of divine love of the umpteenth degree, one has to be like which is being saved. For God to redeems mankind, He must become man Himself for true redemption. Remember that redemption is the end game, but humanity must be attracted to the love of God and respond to the love of God for redemption to be truly appreciated. Could we truly love a God who did not become man Himself and not sacrifice Himself for us? This sort of deity risks disconnection between God and man; but God isn't disconnected! We experience Christ in an intimate way every time we go to Mass, since it is truly God with us in the Eucharist. If we believe that Jesus is God, then we must believe that God is truly present in the Eucharist. Disconnected? Hardly, but rather the most extreme opposite: more than connected, he is intimately connected to our lives.

Jesus becomes incarnate at every Mass, since it is Christ coming into the world on the alter of sacrifice. We celebrate, on Christmas, that very first incarnation, where Jesus enters the world in the lowliest of places: a stable surrounded by animals, to a carpenter and his betrothed, Mary, the Virgin Mother of God. Advent, which means in latin "coming" (see advenio, advenire), is the season where we prepare for His "coming" as man into the world.

As a result of this, we must in this season prepare. We don't prepare by buying a million gifts for friends, but we must spiritually prepare. We must make an extra effort to prayerfully go through Advent with a spirit of appreciation for God and His Incarnation.

So how do we do that? What are specific ways to add prayer to our daily lives? I decided to take up the breviary for Advent. I did this consistently during my time in seminary, but had fallen away from the practice. I hope to use this time as a way to get acclimated to the prayer again. And I usually don't mention my own things that I take up; I do so only that you can offer a prayer that I stick to it. There are other things, but I decline comment because penances are usually private, and I try to stick to that. Other practices to pick up for prayer: the Rosary, and Daily Mass. There is also the Angelus, which is especially pertinent during this season. I will continue to write on Advent during the next few weeks.

May you remain close to the Incarnate Christ and His mother Mary, who bore Jesus in Her holy and spotless womb, and was nourished by her Immaculate Heart. God bless

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