Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent: Preparing for Eternal Happiness By Living in God's Presence Today

Have you ever thought it was ironic during this time of the year that all we hear on TV is "Buy! Buy! Buy! The holidays are near!," while in Church what we hear in our lectionary readings is closer to "Repent! Repent! Repent!  The end is near!"

Scripture puts forth this striking parallel between the coming of Jesus at Christmas and the end of the world.  Why?  Because, in a sense, the Incarnation does bring about the destruction of this world and the ushering in of the Kingdom of God.  Advent is a time to prepare ourselves to be in God's presence.

By entering into the world, God is inaugurating a process of judgment, in which humanity, both in history and today, is called upon to compare itself with the model and matrix of all creation - Jesus Christ.  Does this sound anything like judgment day to you?  It does to me.  At the second coming of Jesus, the truth of all things will be laid bare in the presence of the Risen Savior and we will be judged according to our relationship with Him.

At the first coming of Jesus in history, which we celebrate at Christmas, we too experience his presence and the beginning of this separation between those who are united with Him and those who are opposed to Him.  This separation applies to each of us individually- all of us have parts of ourselves that are not ready to be in the presence of Jesus.  Sin separates us from God, and needs to be removed before we can be fully united to Him in the way he desires to be united to us.  Our flaws and shortcomings prevent us from loving the way we are designed to, and prevent us from experiencing love in the way God wants to share it with us.

While many people might think about praying, doing penance, and preparing themselves to stand before God at the "final judgment," shouldn't we think about and take some action to prepare ourselves to receive him at the "first judgment?"

Shouldn't we put ourselves in God's presence today at this very moment of our lives and never let our hearts and souls flee from Him?

How can we do this each and every day? How do we live in God's presence today?

1. Begin each day with a Morning Offering, offering up all that you do to God.
2. Reflect on short Scripture passages during the day or evening.
2. Make God a part of your day, invoking Him, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Saints, and your guardian angel, wherever you are that day and whatever you might be doing.
3. Attend daily Mass and receive the sacraments frequently.
4. Go to Eucharistic Adoration or visit the Blessed Sacrament. Pray and then Listen.
5. Carry a finger rosary with you and when you are waiting in lines or for appointments, pray a decade of the rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
6. Examine your conscience before you go to bed at night.
7. Keep a prayer journal and write in it as often as possible.

For more Advent ideas, read:

12 Tips for Making Advent a More Spiritual Season

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