Advent Reflections

 In the busyness of this season, take a few moments to stop and enjoy these reflections. Remember Christ is with us in everyone and everything~ watch and wait!

Week 1

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Feast of St Andrew

 The Invitation
John the Baptist pointed Andrew in the direction of the Messiah. Andrew went, found Jesus and responded to His call and invitation to "Come and follow me."
We too have been called and invited by Jesus. How can we answer and accept this invitation? Andrew's acceptance led him to the cross, quite literally. Our acceptance will lead us there as well in the particular way Jesus has chosen for each of us.
Jesus came into this world to save us. His becoming a man sanctifies our humanity.
Let us ask St Andrew to intercede for us and help us to answer the call and invitation of Christ to Come and follow, just as he did.

Lord Jesus,
Through the intercession of St Andrew, may we have the courage to hear your call and accept your invitation to come and follow You. May we never be afraid to proclaim You no matter the cost. May our preparations this Advent draw us closer to You.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fruitfully Filling the Waiting
You may be wondering what you can do to fill this time of waiting and anticipation in a spiritually fruitful and fulfilling manner. For today's reflection I am sending you over to Fr. Robert Barron's blog at Word On Fire. He gives some very spiritually edifying ways to sanctify the time in this blessed season.
He speaks of Eucharistic Adoration as being a particularly rich form of spiritual waiting.
As we continue our journey through Advent, may we fill this time of waiting for Our Lord in ways pleasing to Him.
Click the link above to read Fr. Barron's reflection. There is also a video with his commentary on this season.

Prayer for Adoration
(based on Fr. Barron's reflection)
Lord Jesus,
As I come into Your Presence, I pray that You will increase my desire for the things of God. Expand my heart so that You may fill it and I may bring You to others.
Lord, make me ready to receive the gifts You want to give to me. Go ahead, Lord Jesus and surprise me, for I am never disappointed in what You give for I know they are for my good and Your glory.
I come to You, Jesus, to be with You in Your Presence and I wait.

Thursday, December 2, 2010
 "For with thee is the fountain of life:in thy light we shall see light." ~Psalm36:9

Harbingers of Light
Christ came to bring light to a dark world. He is also an example to us. His life shows us how to live and how to serve. We too are called to bring Christ's light to those around us~especially those whose lives may still be darkened by serious sin and despair.
This Advent season, let us be harbingers of Christ's light. We can do it in any number of ways: a smile or a thank you to the sales clerk as we do our Christmas shopping, visiting someone who could use some company, or a hug to a hurting child or a friend who may simply just need one; the list is endless.
We were given the light of Christ at our baptism~may our lives always reflect it.

Lord Jesus,
You came as Light of the World. May we take the light You bring and have given us and share it with our own world still desperately in need of Your Light.
May our lights shine before men and always give You glory.

Week 2

Monday, December 6, 2010
Virtuous Waiting
We wait in patient and obedient faith for Christ to come again in glory and at Christmas.
We await His coming with hope that all that God promised will be fulfilled.
We wait for Him because we love Him.

Lord Jesus Christ,
We await Your coming in glory at the end of the age and Your coming into our hearts on Christmas morning.
May we wait in the same virtuous anticipation that Your Blessed Mother awaited You, both as the promised Messiah and as her Son.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Waiting and Trusting
This brief reflection is from the Creighton Ministries site. I loved what it had to say about living this second week of Advent and thought I would share it here as part of my reflections for this week.

We prepare this week by stepping up the longing. We move through this week by naming deeper more specific desires. Each morning this week, if even for that brief moment at the side of our beds, we want to light a second interior candle. We want it to represent a bit more hope. Perhaps we can pause, breathe deeply and say, "Lord, I place my trust in You."

Lord Jesus,
As we move more deeply into this season and prepare for Your coming, we will be still and know that it is God for Whom we wait. We place all our trust in You and the promises You bring.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Waiting With Mary
Today as we celebrate this beautiful Marian feast, let us contemplate Mary as she awaited the birth of her Son and Messiah. I am sure that Mary had the same concerns and anxiousness that any expectant mother has, but as she always followed God's will, I am sure she had much peace within as she held so much in her heart.
Let us wait for Jesus with Mary for His coming at the end of the age and at Christmas. Let us hold the peace He brings and ponder it in our own hearts.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Friday, December 10, 2010
Just like little children, we too can have Christmas wish lists. In today's reading, God, through the prophet Isaiah tells us how to form that list in order to get the most from it. Heed God's commandments and your prosperity will be like a river.
As we continue to prepare for Christ's coming, let us ask for the grace of desiring the things of God more intensely.

Heavenly Father,
You have fulfilled Your promise in the gift of Your Son. As we await His coming, may our desire for Him and all the things of heaven increase. Help us to listen and follow Your commandments so that one day we will prosper in eternal life with You.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.

Week 3

 Monday, December 13, 2010
 Pausing In Gratitude
Each night this week we want to pause in gratitude.  Whatever the day has brought, no matter how busy it has been, we can stop, before we fall asleep, to give thanks for a little more light, a little more freedom to walk by that light, in joy.

Heavenly Father,
We thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ and the light he brings that enables to walk in the faith, hope and love.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Joyful Preparation

We prepare this week by feeling the joy.  We move through this week feeling a part of the waiting world that rejoices because our longing has prepared us to believe the reign of God is close at hand.  And so we consciously ask:

Prepare our hearts
and remove the sadness
that hinders us from feeling
the joy and hope
which his presence
will bestow.

(taken from Creighton ministries advent reflections)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Preparing To Meet Christ
With Christmas just 10 days away, the prayer Come, Lord Jesus, come! begins to be prayed with more intensity. We may be stepping up our preparations to meet Christ at Christmas in any number of ways~ more prayer, confession, daily Mass, etc.
For your meditation and reflection today, I give you  an Advent reflection by Cardinal John Henry Newman. It seems, judging by the list of questions with which this reflection begins, that many people must have wondered why Catholics do what they do. This saint's response is that our Christian worship is our preparation on earth to meet Christ our Judge, and that only through prayer, sacraments and profession of the whole mystery of faith, can we be fully prepared. As we prepare to meet our Savior at Christmas and at the end of our lives, let us prepare by utilizing all the riches and treasures of our beautiful, God given faith.

Lord Jesus,
As we prepare to meet and receive You this Christmas, may we come to meet You in prayer, in Scripture, and in Your sacraments. May these encounters prepare us to meet You one day face to face when we will share eternity with You.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Message of the Prophets
During Advent the two prophets we hear from the most is Isaiah and John the Baptist. Both of these prophets had the same message~Repentance.
The Pharisees in today's Gospel did not heed this call to repentance and therefore turned themselves away from God's loving call to them and what He had planned for their lives.
Let us listen to the prophets and always answer their message of repentance so that we may be open to receive God in our lives at Christmas and everyday.

Heavenly Father,
Send Your Spirit to reveal to me those areas of my life that still need repentance so that I may be open to You and all the graces and blessings You wish to bestow upon me. May I use them to serve You and others, and may it all be for Your glory.
I ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son and Our Lord.

Friday, December 17, 2010
Saints and Sinners
In reading Matthew's genealogy of Jesus in today's Gospel, it is clear to see that He comes from a very long line of ancestors! some good and some not so good. His coming in human flesh sanctifies our human flesh. If we take a look at our own ancestral lines we would see that we too most likely come from a  long line of saints and sinners.
The truth is we are all sinners while we walk this earth. As we prepare for Christ's coming during these last days of Advent, let us thank Him for coming to redeem our sinful nature so that we may be counted among His saints in heaven one day.

Heavenly Father,
You sent Your only Son to be born of a woman in human flesh. Thank You for this gift in Jesus whose own humanity sanctifies our own. May we follow His example for living and doing Your will in this life so that we may live with You in our heavenly home in the life to come.
We pray this through Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Monday, December 20, 2010
Waiting With Joseph
The Gospel for the fourth Sunday of Advent points to Joseph. We see a little of what the waiting was like from his perspective. He learned of this impending sacred conception from an angel in a dream. I am sure that upon waking from that incredible dream, Joseph had the thought, "I didn't sign up for this!" Joseph is an example for us on how to trust God even and especially when the unexpected things of life happen. Like Mary, Joseph gave his fiat and accepted his foster fatherhood. He surrendered all control over to the God he knew and trusted.
Sometimes we think we have control over our lives, and to some small degree we do, but God wants to take greater control so that He can work wonders in and through us; we just need to let Him.
So let us wait with Joseph during these final days of Advent and surrender ourselves to the God who made us and loves us.

Heavenly Father,
You chose Joseph to be Your Son's earthly father. Grant us the grace of faithful obedience and surrender to You. May our will be conformed to Yours as we wait in hopeful anticipation for Your Son, Jesus, Our Lord and Savior.
In giving all over to You, may our hearts make room for Him.
We ask this in Jesus' name.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Entering Into the Mystery
For all of us, the story behind these days can draw us in, and invite us to bring our lives to the mystery of how Jesus came into this world and why.  Our best preparation for the Holy Night ahead and the Joyful Morning to follow is for us to reflect upon how he came.  He came in the midst of scandal and conflict.  He came in poverty.  He was rejected before he was born.  He was born in a feed trough.  He was hunted down.  And he grew up in obscurity.
He did not shun our world and its poverty and conflict.  He embraced it.  And he desires to embrace us today, in this day.  Right where we are.  Right where we are feeling most distant.  Right were we are feeling least "religious" or "ready."  If we let him come into our hearts to be our Savior these challenging days, we will find ourselves entering the sacred night and morning of Christmas "joyful and triumphant" as never before.
~Reflection from Creighton Online Ministries 

Come Lord Jesus and help us enter more deeply into the mystery of Your Incarnation.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Rejoicing With Mary In Our Savior
Mary's response to Elizabeth's greeting is her prayer of the Magnificat. Mary proclaims that her soul magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God her Savior. Mary was truly filled with the Holy Spirit and God Himself.
As we approach Christmas may we, like Mary find ourselves rejoicing in our Savior being filled with His presence so that He may do great things in us and for us.

The Magnificat
My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.  And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.  He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The Incarnation is largely about redemption. God became man in Jesus Christ to redeem humanity. In the beginning of Luke's Gospel we are brought into the lives of those who play a key role in Salvation History. It begins with Mary's fiat, then Joseph's faith in God in hearing the angel's message for him in a dream, Elizabeth's response of joy to Mary's greeting, and even the babies in their wombs seem to greet each other.
Redemption also came in another way for Zechariah. He found out what happens when you lack faith and trust in an angel's message; in his case he was rendered mute. But God gives him a chance to correct that mistake when his son, John is born. Zechariah knew full well that giving the child this name would cause some confusion and maybe even a little consternation among his friends and relatives because no one in his family had the name John. This time, though Zechariah trusted God, wrote down that this was to be the child's name and God restored his speech.
We, like Zechariah, are given second, even third, fourth... chances to correct our mistakes. When we approach God in prayer and in the sacrament of reconciliation with humility and sincere repentance, He forgives us and allows us to begin again.
Let us reflect upon God's mercy as we continue to reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation.

Heavenly Father,
You sent Your Son, Jesus to redeem a fallen world. As we contemplate this great mystery of Your Incarnation, may we see Your great love for us and the mercy You are always willing to show us. May we never miss the opportunities You give us to begin again in our life with and in You.