Advent is a season that goes quick, unlike Lent. This year, Advent ends earlier because immediately after the 4th Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Christmas Eve Mass. December is always a busy and fascinating month of the year because of the holidays and Christmas festivities.
We often fail to slow down and take time from the rush of life to be with the Lord. We do not have time to contemplate the reason the Church sets aside four weeks of Advent preparations for Christmas. Advent is the way the Catholic Church prepares us spiritually for the Christmas celebration. Every year, we find ourselves busy with Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, putting up Christmas decorations and planning for parties, that we distract ourselves from having a truly meaningful Christmas. Then before you know it, Christmas has come and gone.
Did you spend time truly preparing your heart for Christ’s coming this Christmas? Have you prepared a timetable for prayer and mediation during Advent? Did you give at least 15-20 minutes a day to prayer and meditation? Have we strived to cultivate certain attitudes to welcome Christ in our hearts and home, on Christmas morning?
Over the weeks we have been listening to Christmas music in our homes, cars and at the malls. It is so easy for us to lose sight of the beauty of the four-week Advent. I like the readings selected by the Catholic Church during this season, highlighting Jesus’ arrival as a baby on Christmas as well as His second coming. Sometimes we get too bogged down with our worldly preparations, that we forget to look into our spiritual preparations. On Christmas Eve we will sing the hymn – Silent Night. It is very important to cultivate silence in the midst of a world so immersed in noise. It is crucial to truly connect ourselves with God, who gives us a sense of peace.
We know there are many positive fruits that come from silence, but we sometimes fail to appreciate silence. God will speak to us in the depths of our hearts when we set an attitude of prayer in silence. Many people went through the process of discernment in silent prayer – either individually or with spiritual directors – in order to choose one’s vocation – married life or single life or religious life. Some of them have pursued their own personal conversion and purification in silent prayer.
Honestly speaking, during this Advent season, I have been weary with my daily priestly commitments in the parish. These past 3 weeks I have assisted in hearing confessions at various parishes around the Klang Valley. I have visited the homebound and administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and Eucharist to around 80 parishioners at home and at hospitals. It was pleasant to visit the elderly and sick of our community, to affirm them that Jesus is still in charge, as the Lord of Life.
Even as I find that I haven’t spent much time in silent prayer, I sense that God is always present in mysterious ways as I exercise my daily priestly duties. For me, this Advent has been a fruitful time – reaching out to the homebound and carrying out my commitments faithfully, for the spiritual well-being of my parishioners and others.
This Advent, let us seek Jesus in silence, in the Eucharist and in the Bible. May Christ Jesus bless us all and fill our hearts with joy, as we enter into the second half of our Advent season! God bless.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy