As we begin Advent today, we hear in the Gospel how we are to be prepared for the coming of our Lord. We are called to keep our hearts and minds focused upward during this time of preparation. Below are three uplifting suggestions to help you.
Clean Up ~ The best way to get cleaned up spiritually is, of course, to receive the sacrament of confession. Once again, as I requested last year at this time, the Christmas gift I hope to receive from each of you is for you to go to confession at least once this Advent. There will be several opportunities for this. On the next three Wednesday evenings from 7pm - 9pm and again on Sunday, December 22 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm, there will be a minimum of two priests available to hear confessions.
Dress Up ~ Work on your prayer life so that you truly begin to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." Resolve to pray at least a decade of the rosary each day. Commit to daily spiritual reading. Spend time in Adoration of our Lord. What I really would like for Christmas (in addition to the confession!) is for each of you to spend one hour this Advent in front of the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration times or any quiet time in a Catholic Church.
Cheer Up ~ Cheer up those around you by thinking of others more and of yourself less. By doing so, I think you'll find that you will be cheering up yourself as well. In the words of St. Francis, "It is in giving that we receive." In a special way, I ask you to bring some Christmas cheer to my brother priests throughout the Archdiocese of Washington by spending time this Advent praying for them. In the narthex are small scrolls with the names and addresses of each priest in the ADW. If each person or each family could "adopt" one of my brother priests, then I would be assured that every priest will be prayed for this Advent.
As I pray for you this Advent, I ask for your continued prayers for me and our parish so that together we are uplifted in mind and heart toward our eternal home in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ.