Virgin Mary did not rush into Christmas-why should we?"
Advent, from the Latin word,
means "to come to". It is a sacred season to
bring us to Christmas-spiritually and materially. Just
as the Virgin spent nine months in preparation for
Jesus' birth, so we should spend GENEROUS time (lots of
it!), LOVING time (with our hearts and souls) and HOLY
time (praying, fasting, serving) preparing for Him
The character of Advent is
twofold: Catholics are to prepare for Christ's Second
Coming (Final Judgment) and to commemorate His First
Coming- His birth. Though we think more about His
Nativity, let us also embrace the wisdom of the Church
regarding His Second Coming, and be ready-whenever He
comes again-for a just and merciful judgment.
Thus, ask yourself: Am I living
a holy, Christ-centered lifestyle, worthy of the Lord?
Am I using resources for God's glory and other's
benefits rather than becoming materialistic? Have I
committed any mortal sins that I have not confessed-ones
which destroy God's Life in my soul? Am I avoiding the
Sacrament of Reconciliation and God's merciful
forgiveness? Do I really love God as I should-and show
it in my daily life and lifestyle? Have I really
appreciated and participated with all God's graces to
Advent, then, is a time to slow
down, to meditate and pray more, to turn spiritually
within (not selfishly) and consider the life of the
soul-- both its graces and faults. Though "the
world" wants us to spend money, live frantically
and "think horizontally," the Bible and our
Faith encourage us otherwise: to embrace spiritual
poverty (where God is our true treasure); to settle down
and quietly "wait on the Lord " in prayer; and
to think vertically/spiritually: ask yourself, Is a
given situation or person helping me to become holy?
Often in our culture, especially this time of year, we
forget we are supernatural creatures, destined for
Heaven and that we need God's divine help to pilgrimage
thru this world.
Pope John Paul reminds us of the
dangers of the unexamined life and the possibility of
man becoming "concerned only with 'doing,' and
using all kinds of technology, busying himself with
programming, controlling and dominating birth and
death." Advent is a time of year to wake us up: we
need first to receive God's grace and nurture it within
as did the Virgin Mary, to enmesh our beings with God's,
and then, transformed in God's love, enter into the
world graced by God-with-us (the precise meaning of the
The Saints and the Virgin Mary
took generous time to know the sacredness of life, the
beauty of God's love and the need for relying on him-in
a sense they "practiced Advent" year-round.
This Advent, really, spiritually prepare:
- FAMILIES: Decorate your house
in a way to show you are awaiting Jesus: Put out and
light an Advent candle, or some Bible verses on the
kitchen table; make or buy a spiritual calendar for
Advent…Try to pray a Rosary together a couple
times a week, or at least begin with one, prayerful
decade. Read a brief Bible story about Jesus' birth,
or one about a saint…Begin and end meals with a
- INDIVIDUALS: attend and
participate Mass more during Advent; make a trusting
confession before Christmas…Spend ten minutes each
morning in prayer by yourself "waiting on the
Lord"…Try to read the Bible or a spiritual
book ten minutes a day. Give service to a poor, sick
or dying person.
- VIRGINAL LOVE: Throughout
each day, meditatively think and imagine: Where,
now, "spiritually," is the Blessed Mother
(and St. Joseph) as they "walk" to
Bethlehem? How can I, in this "spiritual
scene" be one with them and thus love them more
for all they did?
If you think "the
world" is too frantic, materialistic and secular
this time of year, what are you going to do about it?
Remember, world peace, true saintliness and conversion
begin in each one of our hearts!
QUOTE of THE WEEK: "Our
silence is a joyful and God-centered silence; it demands
of us a constant self-denial and plunges us into the
deep silence of God where aloneness with God becomes a
reality." Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
other Sermons by Father John J. Lombardi