"Advent is a season of penance, it is traditionally a time of fasting and self-denial, a kind of pre-Christmas purification from guilt of sin and of practical measures to arrive at inner detachment from the pleasures that bind us to those activities that are distracting. To enter into this season of Advent means to focus our desires and use our energies and time in the service of the Gospel message that our God comes to save us. In Latin the meaning of the word ‘advenit‘, from which our English ‘Advent’ derives, is ‘he comes.’ May we so participate in this season that we are ready to welcome him with desire and firm faith when he arrives in our midst and takes up his abode in our hearts at Christmas" (Abbot John Eudes Bamberger: November 28th, 2010)As we journey through our Advent season it is important to take the time and prayerfully place everything into proper perspective. As the commercial reality of the holiday season invites material consumption, we are called to remember the true focus of Christmas and to prepare ourselves to welcome the Lord. As challenging as it may be we must strive during this Advent season to be consumed by Christ and not consumerism.
Fr. John Eudes Bamberger reminds us of the importance of making an effort to grow in our faith during the Advent season and to prepare ourselves interiorly for the coming of Christ into our midst. He calls us to a deepening of our prayer lives and self denial in order to cultivate an "inner detachment from the pleasures that bind us to those activities that are distracting". There are numerous distractions that are presented to us during the Advent season. By committing ourselves to special periods of prayer we can remain focused on our Lord and the reason for our joy this season.
Today as we celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas we are reminded of the simplicity of the gifts we are to give and share with one another. Let us strive to recognize the gifts that our Lord has given to us and in turn give ourselves more fully to Him. It is through this giving of ourselves to the Lord with love that we will be able to present ourselves as a gift to others and share the light of Christ this season. Let us continue to prepare the way with prayer. (CC)