Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Happy New Liturgical Year! The new liturgical year offers us a unique opportunity to make resolutions. But instead of resolving to lose weight, go to bed early, or learn a new language, we can make new (or revisit old) spiritual resolutions to deepen the most central relationship we as disciples have – our relationship with Jesus Christ. I encourage all of us to practice waiting (a primary theme of this season) and celebrate Advent now, not Christmas. Catholics value a good “build-up” to a season, and it makes the season of Christmas more meaningful if we have prepared properly. Some ideas…
First, Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, available in Ste Claire Chapel. To spend an hour (or even half an hour) in the presence of the Lord in the Consecrated Host may not seem like much in the sight of the world, but it has immense power to deepen your faith. All the Saints knew this.We go into the silence, kneel/sit, and just adore Him, carving out time to spend and listen to Him. As you keep vigil before Jesus truly there in the Blessed Sacrament, bring to Him a problem you have been struggling with. “Lord, I’ve been worrying about this, but now I’m going to give it to you.” Helongs to bring you peace in your soul.
Also, participate in our parish-wide version of Straw For Jesus. For each act of love you do during the week, place a piece of straw in the heart-shaped container found at any entrance of our church. The straw will then be included with the gifts that are taken up to the altar at all weekend Masses. The priest will bless the straw, and it will be placed in the quiet, empty stable that awaits the Son of God. The straw prepares the stable, and our acts of love prepare our hearts for Christ. Be generous! The Infant Jesus needs a soft bed! Feel free to visit the church and add more straw. “Acts of Love” include: Forgive someone, Random acts of kindness, Acts of mercy, Make a good confession, Pray more often, Read Scripture daily, Donate to a favorite charity, Visit someone in a nursing home, Volunteer, and more. Of course, we can do this in our homes as well.
Of course, going to Confession, the Advent wreath, the Jesse Tree, the Advent calendar, and almsgiving are also great ways to prepare. (Do an internet search if you’re not sure what some of these are – hopefully, you know Confession!) Also, register your email and receive daily inspirations to help you make this the most fruitful Advent you’ve ever had: www.dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever.
Finally – Holy Day of Obligation: Saturday, Dec. 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of the United States. Like Christmas, this is one Holy Day that is always obligatory, even if it falls near a Sunday. All Masses for the Holy Day will be in the new church: Friday, 12/7 (vigil) at 5:30pm; Saturday, 12/8 at 8:00am; and 12:00pm.
Have a blessed Advent!