01 December 2007

Advent as Spiritual Preparation

The following is from tomorrow's Sunday bulletin.

It is fitting that we begin the new liturgical year as we ended the previous year: by hearing of our Lord’s final coming. By itself, such a dire warning should evoke in each Christian a desire for true repentance, for increased prayer, and for earnest re-commitment to live godly. Those desires, however, should be further heightened by the realization that on this day we also begin preparing for the annual celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity.

Our desires and preparations ought to lead us, then, to “put on the armor of light” (Epistle) not simply by adding a few extra moments of reflection or prayer to our daily routine; but also by making “no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its desires.” The discipline of denying whatever gratifies and pleases us, and instead pursuing chiefly those things that promote the spiritual welfare of others (and thereby ourselves)—this is spiritual preparation for Christ Mass. Such spiritual preparation ought to take priority over any material preparations that society encourages. For what good is our celebration if our hearts are not truly prepared; and if our attention is solely or mostly on things that gain us nothing in the life to come?

Let us pray both in this Mass and throughout Advent that Our Lord would stir up our hearts that they may be truly prepared for the coming of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

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