St. Michael Prayer

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do, thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell satan and all of the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Glory to God in the Highest!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Prepare the Way of the Lord, Thinking Ahead to Advent

The month of November is generally associated with gratitude.  In a few days, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, a day that still is associated with family, friends, and football.  We gather, we pray, and we eat.  

The season of gratitude leads us into the season of love, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. 
Throughout Advent, there are presents to buy and wrap, decorating to do in the house.  There are plans to make when it comes to family gatherings.  There is food to get ready and Christmas cards to address.  Added to this, there’s still homework for the kids, groceries to buy, a house to clean, laundry to do, dinner to make, and countless other tasks that fill the time and space of our lives.  Life never stops, yet, in 24 days, we will celebrate the birthday of our God,  our brother, Jesus, who is Love incarnate.

The first Sunday of Advent is this coming Sunday.  Our Church begins four weeks of preparation to help us prepare for the birth of Jesus.   During this time, the music at Mass is somewhat dolorous.  We sing about the coming of Jesus in almost sorrowful tones.  We don’t sing Christmas carols yet because the season of Christmas has not yet started.  (In our Church, the season of Christmas begins with the birth of Jesus.)  Our priests celebrate Mass dressed in purple vestments to indicate a time of penance and prayer.  (Advent used to be called “little Lent.”)  We hear readings about the coming of the Messiah.  Extra confessions are scheduled. Faith formation looks to the coming of Jesus.  “Prepare the way of the Lord.” There are also two major feast days in Advent, dedicated to the Blessed Mother - Our Lady of Guadalupe and The Immaculate Conception. These are just some of the opportunities that our Church gives us to bring us closer to Jesus as we wait for His birth.

Then we go home, and the dishes still need to be washed, the bathroom needs cleaning, the kids need new shoes, and the rounds of Christmas parties and open houses begin.  Life doesn’t allow much time for reflection on the true meaning of Christmas, unless we make time to prepare for the Birth of Our King.

So, in this busy world of ours, what can you do to truly prepare for Christmas?  This might take a little bit of scheduling, but it will be worth the effort when you feel the true joy of Christmas.

Buy an Advent wreath or drag the one you have out of storage.  Gather the family once a week to light a candle and pray together.  You can say a Rosary, if the kids are old enough, if not, maybe 3 Hail Mary’s to honor Our Mother who was the first tabernacle.
Read Sacred Scripture for 5-10 minutes a day.  Talk about these readings in your family, or, simply mediate on the reading yourself.
Begin a mini fast.  One day a week, skip a meal or eat 3 small meals that day. 
Use an Advent calendar, but, try to use one that does not give the little ones a gift each day.  Move away from the gift giving and emphasize Jesus.
Make time to pray for 5 minutes a day.  (You can pray more, but we need to start with small steps.)
Attend daily Mass.
Pray a Rosary daily.
Go to confession.  Being yourself back into reconciliation with God.
Set up a manger.  Give it a place of honor in your home.
Turn your thoughts to Mary.  Ask her to help you prepare for the coming of her Son.  She will.  Just wait and listen to her whisperings. 

There’s time to prepare.  Get started now.  Let the Light of God shine in your lives.  Prepare the Way of the Lord!

John 1: 1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God;
all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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