The Ladies of Charity USA gratefully acknowledge Father Mark Arnzen, Spiritual Director for the Morgan Hill Ladies of Charity for sharing this Advent reflection.
Third Sunday of Advent – Dec. 11, 2011
Isaiah 61:1-11 ~ Psalm-Luke 1:46-54 ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ~ John 1:6-8,19-28
Because it’s only four weeks Advent can slip by before we really enter into the prayerful and penitential nature of the season. A question we should ask ourselves: what is my focus? Is my focus simply to get to Christmas, to make sure that I have bought all the necessary presents or to wait for a little vacation or slow time at work? If these are your main worries, then you should take a brief time out to refocus on our true Advent journey.
The first step is to remind ourselves that everything we have in our lives is a gift from God. That the greatest gift we can give to each other is the love and life that God has given to us. We all enjoy getting gifts and it is important that we have a generosity of heart. A challenge we all might take on is this: to spend as much time in the spiritual preparation for Christmas as we do in the physical preparation for Christmas. For example: if I spend three hours shopping, I should try to spend the equal amount of time in prayer, spiritual reading or taking time with God. (Yes, you can count Mass as part of the time spent with God.) If your family is spending a few hours decorating the house for Christmas we should try to spend that time singing carols, telling stories about family or praying the rosary together. If we can do simple little things like this, then we can grow in faith and truly celebrate Christmas in the true spirit of our Catholic faith. This can and should be difficult to do therefore, if you can’t give back all the time then maybe you can tithe the time, give 10% back to God. Whatever you give back will be returned in abundance….that is God’s promise.
Father Mark Arnzen, Pastor of St. Catherine Catholic Church
and Spiritual Director for the Ladies of Charity of Morgan Hill, CA.