This coming weekend we will begin to see that something is different. As we walk into our churches, the accents and priest’s vestments have changed from green to purple. The Advent wreath will be blessed and the first candle lit.
It is a new beginning. A new liturgical year. A time to look back and consider all the ways our desires for God and a deeper relationship with Him got lost in the busy-ness of school, work, sports, band, etc.
But now, look ahead.
Do you hear it? God is calling you to start again. To make time for Him in the silence of this season of anticipation and waiting for our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. The Babe King.
How do you hope to prepare to receive Him this Christmas? Where do you hope to encounter Him – to grow closer – to Jesus?
Below are some ways that you might consider. Just choose one and stay faithful to it. In doing so, you will find yourself at the close of Advent coming close to God.
Are you READY? Enter Advent with all your heart.
Be assured of our prayers for you.
1. GO TO DAILY MASS
The Saints remind us of the power available at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:
- Once, St. Teresa (of Avila) was overwhelmed with God’s Goodness and asked Our Lord “How can I thank you?” Our Lord replied, “ATTEND ONE MASS.”
- “It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.” – St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
- “The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer!” – Pope Paul VI
Check your local parish to see when Mass is offered. Annunciation has two: 8:30am and 5:30pm.
2. READ YOUR BIBLE EVERY DAY
Maybe you can’t go to Mass every day and hear the unfolding of the story leading up to Christmas. You can unite yourself with this greatest of prayers – the Mass – by opening your Bible and reading along with the Church!
Mass Readings. Go to the USCCB Daily Readings page, click today’s date, and below the calendar, click the audio link to listen to the day’s readings. A great way to feed your soul, and walk with the Church.
Thirty Days with the Gospel of Mark. The shortest of the four Gospels, one can easily read through it this Advent. Each day’s reading is accompanied by mood music and brief reflection. Listen to the Introduction here.
3. STUDY YOUR FAITH
By study you can deepen your understanding of the things of God. Why not sign-up for the Parish’s ONLINE Learning platform – FORMED? It is full of fantastic Catholic speakers, theologians, and laity sharing the faith with you, in different formats: video – audio – books – programs.
It also has material for ADVENT and for the Year of Divine Mercy.
4. CHOOSE A DEVOTIONAL PRAYER
Choose a way to stay close to God throughout the day, to meditate on Him and the mysteries of the Church. That is what devotional prayer does. What are some devotional prayers to consider?
- The Holy Rosary. Pray the Rosary every day, asking God to bring peace to our world.
- The Divine Mercy Chaplet. Pray the chaplet prayers on your Rosary beads.
- The Angelus Prayer. The Angelus meditates on Mary’s openness to God’s plan in her life, and the Incarnation (God made Flesh). The Church traditionally prays this prayer three times a day – sunrise, midday, and sunset – to help us stop our busy-ness and unite our prayer with God and His Church. Here is a beautiful sung version.
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Why not spend an hour with the Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament? It is the best way to ‘leave the world behind’ for an hour, and enter into quiet with God. Check your parish to see if they have an adoration chapel. Annunciation has a 24-hour a day Adoration Chapel. Call the office for details.
5. SUBSCRIBE TO AN ADVENT REFLECTION
There are some fantastic daily reflections available that you can subscribe to and receive in your email box! Here are some great ones!
Bishop Robert Barron’s Daily Advent Reflections will give some great insights to living this Advent in a whole new light. Click the link and sign up to receive daily emails with a brief reflection to help you stay focused this Advent.
Make this Advent the Best Advent Ever. Matthew Kelly has done it again, offering Best Advent Ever™ Rediscover Mercy. Click the link and sign up to receive daily emails to keep you on track this Advent.
Do you have a tradition/practice that you like to do in getting ready for Christmas during Advent? Share with us in the comments box below!
Other sources to help you:
- US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have a lot of good recommendations for making your Advent Season a holy one.
- Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Learn about the meaning, signs and symbols of Advent, plust daily reflections for each week of preparation.
- Layola Press has a good list of prayers, activities, calendars and suggested reading to help you make your way through this holy season.
- Advent Moments of Mercy. Sign up to receive daily messages via email from the First Sunday of Advent through Christmas Day.
- Pray as You Go. Click on the day for a brief reflection/prayer.
- Our Sunday Visitor has a definitive guide to Advent and Christmas. Some great suggestions for family and individual activities to keep the season of preparation a spiritually rewarding one.