My Advent Project

As we start the new liturgical year – Cycle B we are cautioned that we should not be so foolish as to forget God and become immersed in worldly matters. The Church reminds us of the alertness and preparation needed for the four-fold coming of Jesus into our lives, namely: at the celebration of his Incarnation during this Christmas season, in his active presence  in our daily lives, at the moment of our death, and in his final coming in glory at the end of the world.

At the first coming, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming, he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look, then, beyond the first coming and await the second.

“Maran atha” (Rev 22:20) is an Aramaic expression that means: “Come, Lord Jesus.”  It was used as a greeting in the early Church. When believers gathered or parted, they didn’t say hello or goodbye, but “Maran atha!” If we had the same spiritual outlook today, it would revolutionize the Church and the lives of its members during this Advent season.

Every morning when we get up, let us pray, “Lord, show me someone today with whom I may share your love, mercy and forgiveness.”  St Teresa of Calcutta once said, "Whatever you do in your family, for your children, for your husband, for your wife, you do for Jesus."  Every night when we go to bed, let us ask ourselves, “Where have I found Christ today?”  The answer will be God’s Advent gift to us that day. By being alert and watchful we will receive an extra gift:  Christ himself.  Let us remember the saying of St. Thomas Aquinas: "Without God, I can't.  Without me, He won't."  

There's a great story about Saint Francis of Assisi that illustrates - what we need to do in Advent. One winter night, there was a raging blizzard, and the man who was supposed to wake up every couple of hours and keep the fire going at the monastery was unable to find Francis. So he went outside into the storm and found him kneeling at the side of a hill wearing his ordinary clothing. His arms were outstretched; he was praying, oblivious to the wind and biting cold snow. A day later, when the man asked Francis how he could stand this, Francis replied, "God warms my heart when I keep my eyes fixed on Him." God warms our hearts, too, when we keep our eyes fixed on God. I wish and pray our hearts become warm by keeping our eyes fixed on God. This is my/our Advent project.

In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church