Now that we are getting ready for Christmas, a lot of us are bringing our Christmas decorations out of storage. We might have the experience that it’s dark and dusty. When we need to find something, we turn on the light. With the illumination, the aspect of everything is transformed. Suddenly, we can see what was hidden. Advent seems a little bit like that. Light reveals sin. We have this liturgical time to get ready for the coming of our Lord.
An Invitation from Isaiah
“Would that you might meet us doing right.” (Is. 64:2) This phrase from the book of the prophet Isaiah makes me think about how our relationship with God is he wants to find us doing right he wants to teach us to do and act in such a way that it pleases him. This can be challenging. Just as we might clean the house to get it ready for guests, we should prepare our souls for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. How do we prepare ourselves in such a way that helps us prepare for the coming of the Lord? We need to shed light on our conscience, for light reveals sin.
Wandering away from God
In the Book of the Prophet Isaiah we also see the words: “Why did you let us wander?” (Is. 63:17) Why does God allow us to make mistakes? Why does God let us sin? Why does God let t us stray from his path?
It makes me think of an experience while I was growing up. I was with my mom in a department store, and I wandered away. The realization that I was alone was shocking. Very quickly I was able to find somebody from the store who helped me. Soon enough, I was with my family once again. But the experience taught me to be more aware of my surroundings. I am sure that my mom was appreciative that I no longer would wander off. In the same way, our experience of sin teaches us. The being far away from God is not a good place to be. How do we come back to God? How do we prepare our hearts to receive him at Christmas?
Light reveals sin
The sacrament of confession cleans our souls and sheds light on the darkness. When is the last time that you made it to confession? When is the last time that you examined your conscience?
Driving out fear
So often, I find people who are afraid of confession. I find that many of them are afraid because they don’t know how to go to confession. A confession begins with a good examination of conscience. There are many books and resources that may help you. You can look for an examination of conscience online. Often, we can make a good examination of conscience with a sincere look inwards. We begin such an examination of conscience with a petition for light. Just as we light the candle at the beginning of mass, we want to light a candle in our hearts and shed light on the darkness of our soul. How do we do this?
Prayer of a sincere heart
Lord, let me see myself the way that you see me. Let me see the good things that I have done and the bad things that I have done. Allow me to see what I have failed to do what you had put on my heart. Enlighten my mind to see how I have strayed and wandered far from you. Give me light to know myself well. Fill me with light to see my sins. Give me courage to say my sins clearly and succinctly in confession. Let me listen to the advice of the priest. Let me form a strong resolution to turn away from sin, and to turn towards you. Lord, enlighten my conscience.
A Good Confession
Something as simple as this can help us make a good confession. As we light the first candle on the advent wreath, this is a great opportunity to see how light reveals sin. In this way, we are preparing ourselves for the reception of our Lord at Christmas. I challenge you this week to examine your conscience well, and look for a time to go to confession. As we light the first candle of the Advent wreath, think about how light reveals sin and resolve to sin no more. God bless.