Throughout the season of Advent, we are called to prepare for the coming of the Lord. This preparation takes many forms. We might decorate our homes, cook fine meals and desserts, purchase gifts for others, and spend time in prayer and reflection. These are all good and help us prepare in body, mind, and soul to celebrate Christmas. What is important is that we not get so distracted by one aspect that we lose sight of the others.
I would like to especially remind everyone of how important it is to care for the poor and vulnerable. Jesus says, “As you did it to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). Charity is an essential part of our Catholic teaching. True love of God should naturally extend to love of our brothers and sisters who carry within them the image of God who created them.
There are many opportunities for practicing that virtue of charity towards others during the Advent season, from Coats for Kids or Giving Trees in the parish, to Toys for Tots or Catholic Charities in the community, to other acts of kindness and assistance like helping your neighbor remove snow from their driveway. Each of those actions helps us grow in love of neighbor and of God and prepares ourselves and our world for the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace.
Prayer too, should not be overlooked or relegated to whatever time we have left in the day. Our Advent Holy Hour is one opportunity to intentionally set aside time specifically devoted to prayer and growth in the spiritual life. Times of prayer and silence are very beneficial during this season of waiting. Consider other ways of promoting stillness in your life this season by turning off the radio, computer, and/or television.
May God bless you this Advent and give you whatever graces you need to rejoice in body, mind, and soul at the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration
It is always good for us to rejoice in Mary, the Mother of God and our mother, and her continued intercession on behalf of her children. December 12th is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, commemorating Mary’s appearances to St. Juan Diego and her work in bringing the Mexican people to her son, Jesus. May Our Lady of Guadalupe as patroness of all the Americas, bring many more people to conversion and faith in the coming year.
Because December 12th falls on a Saturday this year, we are celebrating the Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe at 3:00 pm at St. Joseph. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we are also unable to offer the meal and fellowship following the Mass as we have done in past years.
-- Fr. Timothy Gapinski