First Sunday of Advent
Christmas is just around the corner and we have our hopes and aspirations for family; for presents; for a fresh start in the New Year. However, these four weeks of Advent are to prepare us for something more important – the coming of Christ into our world and our lives.
Did you know that there are four advents, or arrivals of Christ? We know that the 1st is Christmas when Christ came as a child of Mary. The 2nd is the coming of Christ into our lives through faith and Sacrament. Another time is when Jesus comes to us at the end of our lives. We call this our particular judgment. Last, we expect Jesus to come again in judgment “as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The only variable we can affect here is the coming of Christ into our lives through faith and Sacrament. We can’t change anything else! That’s why in Advent, as we get ready to rejoice over Christ’s 1st coming, we do our best each year to enliven our relationship with Jesus by deepening our faith. Jesus is once again wanting our spiritual awakening through our deepening engagement with the Him.
Now, I want to give you some practical tips on how to do this. They are actually Mother Mary’s tips which are (1) Prayer (2) Fasting (3) Reading the Bible (4) Confession and (5) Mass.
Prayer is the center of Our Lady's plan to for us to know and love Jesus better. She says, “I call you, dear children, to prayer with the heart" and asks us to pray the Rosary every day. That is her favourite prayer! Fasting is also essential in order to achieve spiritual freedom. Through fasting one is better able to listen to God and Our Lady recommends fasting twice a week. In addition to prayer and fasting, Our Lady asks us "to read the Bible every day in your homes and let it be in a visible place so as always to encourage you to read it and pray."
Of confession, Our Lady asks for monthly confession. And about the Eucharist Our Lady recommends Sunday Mass, and when possible, daily Mass. Our Lady wants us to see the Holy Mass as "the center of our lives" and "the most important and the most holy moment in our lives. Once she said, "let the Holy Mass be your life." (April 25, 1988).
Dear friends, we are in a time of preparation to recelebrate God becoming man, so men and women could become Gods. Prayer, Fasting, the Mass, the Bible, and Confession are the best ways to reawaken in us our relationship with Jesus. These five practices help concretely prepare us for the coming of Christ into our lives on a deeper level as we lead up to the joyful remembrance of the 1st coming of Christ at Christmas.