Today, I am reminded of the times when my sons would come home from school with a form to fill out regarding our safety devices and procedures at home. These would include such things as: locate and count the smoke detectors in the house, find the fire-extinguishers, locate all possible exits, prepare an emergency kit, including flashlights, batteries, water, and energy bars, and discuss where the family members would meet in case of a fire or other disaster. The purpose of these forms is to get the family talking about possible disasters and to make sure that we are prepared for them. However, these forms always left off one of the most important things for which we need to prepare.
Advent is also a time to prepare. It is a time to prepare us for “the day of the Lord” when Christ will come to judge the living and the dead. It is our job to be prepared for His inevitable arrival. Unlike the disasters we try to prepare for which may never occur, this preparation WILL be put to the test. We may never be tested by fire, tornado, or earthquake, but we WILL see Jesus, either when we die, or during His Second Coming. Either way, we WILL be judged by how well we prepared ourselves. Are you prepared?
Starting today, we are beginning our Advent study using Catholic Scripture Study International’s Advent: Preparing for Christ, Cycle B by Cindy Morales. This week, please read Week 1, pages 5-14. For those of you who do not have this book, there are several other ways to help prepare you for the Coming of Christ. There are Advent books that allow you to pray and meditate daily. I’ve found several at https://www.catholiccompany.com/advent-prayer-books-c1506/ Or, you can just set time aside everyday to think about the ways you are becoming holy and ways you can improve your holiness. How you choose to prepare yourself isn’t the main concern. What matters is that you are trying. “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33) It is important to prepare for potential disasters. However, it is even more important to prepare for the inevitable coming of Christ. Let’s take on the Boy Scout motto and be prepared!
If you would like to share you thoughts regarding the “Questions for Reflection” as found in the Advent study guide or regarding any thoughts regarding your preparedness for the Coming of Christ, please share on the Life Giving Bread website or the Life Giving Bread Facebook page.
I have continued to read and reflect on Week One’s readings throughout the week. First, I am grateful that we have a God that is merciful because as humans we have continued to “turn away” from him over-and-over, since the beginning of history. In the “Points to Ponder” section that gives additional insight to Isaiah’s reading, it says: “the people of God have once again strayed from God’s protective care and God feels far away.” God gives us the “Instruction Manual” and as long as we stay close to him and in his “protective care” we are safe; however, our “free will” and “human condition” (affliction) allow us to take our eyes off the ultimate prize (God), if we do not work to stay 100% focused at all times. It is very easy in this world to get distracted by many “shinny objects” that take our eyes off the ultimate prize. Laura Beth and I went to see Matthew Kelly speak at St. Patrick’s Parish several weeks ago (I know many of you were there) and he spoke about one of evil’s main goals is to create so much noise in the world that we can’t hear our God. I definitely took note of his statement because it is so, so true. The world bombards us with information overload and noise (of all kinds) every day. Matthew went on to say that only in the “classroom of silence” can we find “Clarity” through listening to God. I personally need to spend way more time in this “classroom of silence;” however, in order to do this, I am going to have to get my priorities in the “right” order. The bottom line is that our ultimate goal is to live in perfect harmony with God during our time on earth and to be given the opportunity to spend eternity with him when he comes again. We also have an obligation to help as many people as we can in this ultimate goal that we refer to as “Heaven”. Angie points out in her writing (below) that we do a good job of focusing on “preparing for things on this earth;” however, how much more important are the preparations that we make for our eternity. Not sure about you, but I have a lot of work/improvement to do to in order to “Stay Alert”, “Be Ready” as I am called to be. The only way that I can get there is to stay close to Christ and ask him to transform me into what he calls me to be.