I’ve heard a number of challenging readings over the last few days as we move into the Advent season… “be watchful, have an urgency, be ready, don’t be sleeping when the Lord returns”. Wow, those readings touch a cord in my spirit. I want to be ready when the Lord comes again. I want to be “on my game’, not holding anything back. My good friend Dick Birmingham prepares a reflection on the mass readings every day and had a wonderful one for this First Sunday of Advent…let me borrow a few lines.
“So how do we respond to Jesus’ warning to “Watch!”? I think the first thing we need to do is to keep the possibility of an ultra-quick demise in mind at all times. Not in a foreboding way, but simply tucked away where it reminds us frequently that we simply do not know the time! I just got off the phone with one of my sons who was on the way to a funeral for one of his employees who died suddenly sitting in an armchair, at the age of 60. No warning! That’s scary, and should be a motivation for us to “watch” at all times! If we are aware of the possibility that today might be the last day of our life, wouldn’t we want to think and act in ways that are pleasing to God? And if they are going to be pleasing to Him, shouldn’t they be more charitable, more thoughtful toward others ….seems to me a win/win situation!”
So, I’m praying to have a good Advent… to work to be ready and take advantage of this wonderful season. I know I need the Lord’s grace to do that, otherwise it will just be some pious platitudes that I quickly forget about….a nice start and then “run out of gas”.
The theme of my Advent is “Urgent In Holiness”… a great theme, but I need to put some flesh on the bones of the theme. How can I grow in urgency regarding holiness. Well here’s some ideas.
I’m looking to touch on the “pray-fast-alms” challenge of Lent, but in a reduced form. I’m looking at “freshening up” my prayer time…not a major over hall, but a “tune-up” …. getting up a little earlier and substituting some spiritual reading for some of my other reading….looking to give alms to those who are in need…. plenty of opportunities here. And I really need to deny myself in the area of “food”… plenty of room to make progress here.
So, in all of this I’m hoping to love God more and my neighbor…if that doesn’t happen, then the other efforts don’t really add up to much.
So, I hope the above efforts don’t fall into the category of “running in the flesh”, but more of “walking in the spirit”. Time will tell.
So, I’ll keep you posted. I know the goal is a good one and by God mercy and grace, there will actually be some progress.