Here at the seminary it is the time of year when the men in formation are finishing papers and preparing for exams. It can seem overwhelming and that there are not enough hours in the day but we find a way to make it through.
We are also preparing ourselves for something else during this time of year, the Lord’s coming. We celebrate His coming into our lives every day at Mass in Word and Sacrament and every time we pray during the day. But the Church places before us every year this privileged season where we can especially prepare our hearts to receive Christ with better awareness.
That is why we should not overlook the season of Advent. It is quite easy to do that since we are bombarded from before Thanksgiving with all sorts of messages about Christmas shopping and other aspects about the Christmas season. But Christmas comes on December 25. We need to prepare ourselves before it, just like we get ready to welcome a special guest to our home. We clean the house and buy the food and decorate so as to make a proper welcome. It is the same for the season of Advent. We are getting ready to welcome Christ, the Son of God.
We can ask ourselves what things in our lives need reorganization to be more in line with what it means to be a follower of Christ. We can make a renewed commitment to prayer, especially the Rosary. Another way is to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. There are opportunities during Advent where parishes in our Diocese will have Penance services. I encourage you to make use of this sacrament. I know that when I make use of this sacrament that I receive grace from the Lord to convert those areas of my life where I fall short of loving God. It is a sacrament that heals and makes us whole again. It will help us to make a ready home for our Lord at Christmas.
I pray that all of the people of our diocese use the season of Advent as the gift from God that it is to prepare themselves to welcome the Infant Jesus into your hearts this Christmas and all year long.