The Church’s Liturgical year expresses the mysteries of the Faith through the various feasts and seasonal celebrations. The end of the Church year, which concludes next Sunday with the Solemnity of Christ the King, always provides the occasion to focus on the end times. Even nature expresses this reality in the death of all vegetation. Each year at this time, it is good for us to re-evaluate our lives and to contemplate our death. This should not be a morbid exercise but rather a time to recall the glory to which God is calling each one of us. As we continue to pray for all our beloved dead during the month of November, so should we pray that God strengthen us to be well prepared to meet Him when our life on this earth ends.
For some time now the stores have been gearing up for the “Christmas Sales Rush”. While most of these activities are OK, the cumulative effect on us is to ignore the religious preparation necessary for us to properly celebrate the birth of our Savior. The First Sunday of Advent is two weeks from now, so it makes good sense that we begin with preparations for the coming of the Lord. The Church wisely observes Advent with a spirit of watchfulness and anticipation. In our church you will notice it by the presence of subdued decorations and the Advent wreath (the four candles marking the four weeks of Advent). The music will be the familiar Advent hymns, which help us prepare for Christ’s coming. I strongly encourage you to observe the Advent season in your own homes. Don’t put up the Christmas decorations yet! Or, perhaps you may mark the passage of Advent by putting up the Christmas decorations gradually, beginning on the First Sunday of Advent – one every day until your home is completely decorated by Christmas Eve. Put a small Advent wreath in your home where it can be seen by the whole family (the dining room table, perhaps. You can mark the progress of Advent in your home as you light an additional candle each Sunday of Advent. And, most importantly, you can use this season to deepen your spiritual life by more fruitful participation in the Liturgy. Advent is a season of grace and an opportunity to grow in your faith. Make good use of it!
I encourage all our parishioners to generously support the Diocesan Annual Appeal. A substantial portion from the DAA goes to support Catholic Charities and seminarian formation. I’ve made my pledge. Have you made yours?
May God bless you!