Advent at the Monastery is a blessedly intense period of preparation for the comings of Jesus. We are preparing to celebrate His first coming as a baby in Bethlehem, we are preparing ourselves for His coming for each of us at the hour of our death, and we are preparing ourselves and, as best we can, the world for His coming at the end of time. While we don’t get involved in the bustle of Christmas shopping, we do decorate – lots of wreaths, a Christmas tree, and manger scenes ready for the arrival of the Holy Child on Christmas night.
More important than the exterior preparation, however, is our interior preparation, mostly through extra prayer and spiritual reading. This year we had a 3 day Advent retreat preached by Fr. Jose Kumblolickal, a Missionary of St. Francis de Sales and Delegation Superior of the MSFS in the Philippines who, much to our benefit if not to his, has been stranded in the United States due to the Covid pandemic since last March. He has given us several series of talks on a variety of subjects – the Advent retreat talks focused on 5 topics:
- the coming of Jesus as our Redeemer and the implications of that Redemption for each individual – whether we are making ourselves open to His presence as He made Himself present to us
- the characters within the genealogy of Jesus, and how our personal choices can sanctify and open us to grace despite any apparent challenges in our own genealogy or past personal history
- the Annunciation as a life-changing Divine intervention, and a consideration of how we respond to potentially life-changing events in our own life, whether we are as open to grace and as ready to give our fiat as was Mary
- the Visitation as an instance of someone being pregnant with the love of God, and how we are called to service of others through our love of God – are we generous with our presence in our encounters with others, and are those encounters filled with the grace of the love of God?
- a reflection on the life of St. Joseph as protector of the Holy Family, and his character as a man of silence and action, always open to Divine intervention and ready to fulfill God’s will without question
We wish everyone who reads this blog the blessings of the Christ Child throughout the seasons of Advent and Christmas as we celebrate the comings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We also pray for a blessed 2021 for everyone as we continue to Live Jesus!
What a joy it is to introduce
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