Indeed, what use would it be to you that Christ once came in the flesh if he did not enter your soul? Let us pray that he may come to us each day, that we may be able to say: I live, yet it is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20) – Origen
Advent is here.
By the end of Lent I am usually more than ready for it to be over (and dying to eat a piece of chocolate).
But when Advent ends I am usually like, “What?!? Wasn’t it just Thanksgiving!?”
So before this season passes me by in the blink of an eye I have a brilliant idea…I’m going to start planning now for my Advent. And you are going to help me.
Chances are Advent will still be fleeting, but with your help I’m gonna do my best to make the most of this time and keep my focus on Jesus.
So, here’s the deal. I’ll share some ideas with you, and you will share some with me.
No free passes people!
Here are my kickstart-your-Advent ideas:
1. Pick a book to read that you wouldn’t normally read. Or just read something if you don’t normally read for leisure. Throughout Advent I am planning on putting aside a few evenings a week just to read. Are you thinking of picking up a book this Advent and need some ideas? Try – A Woman Wrapped in Silence, The Infancy Narratives by Benedict XVI, Advent Grace – Daily Gospel Reflections, The Reed of God. Or you could read my book, The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church. (Some might think that’s a cheap unrelated plug but imagine if we all extended effective invitations to our “Christmas Catholic” friends and family to remain in the pews all year? Best Christmas present for Jesus ever…)
2. Write a letter. For me, writing is a spiritual activity in many ways, especially when I write to someone about what is going on inside, not just the weather. I would say that sometimes when I write to close, spiritual friends I write the same things I would write to God. In fact, I think I often am writing to God…3. Step away from the technology. These days we have to force ourselves to put down our smart phones, leave the computer or step away from the TV. This Advent, think about giving yourself space to do something different. A Facebook fast might be a good idea. But since I often do things in extremes, this Advent I am going to try something more balanced that will more easily translate to life after Advent. For instance, no technology after dinner. Or something like that…(she says as she clings to her laptop and looks around with wild eyes)
4. Sign up for Father Barron’s free Advent reflections. Are you surprised he gets his own number? I’m not. Father Barron is awesome. And if you don’t sign up for this freebie, I question your sanity.
5. Pray a novena. I have a hard time with novenas. St. Thérèse knows I have novena issues. I have begun and never finished many a rose novena to St. Thérèse. She’s so used to it that she often gives me a rose in the first few days just because she’s nice like that. Now that I am in a bookstore almost every day, surrounded by novenas, I still forget my novena prayers. It’s pathetic. But this Advent, I think I will pray a novena to Mary. I am not sure whether it’ll be Guadalupe, The Immaculate Conception, Untier of Knots, or, if pigs fly, I might pray all three.
And here’s a freebie:
Go to confession. I know you may not like it…but confession is good for you! I used to dread confession. Like a kid who tries to avoid taking baths, I avoided the confessional for many years. But guess what? I have grown to really like confession. It just makes me feel lighter, cleaner, more prepared to welcome Jesus.
Ok, folks, now it’s your turn.