Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Advent Wisdom

Looking back on Advent as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we can see three particular themes from the Sunday readings of the past four weeks.


1. Spiritual growth


Readings of the first two weeks of Advent brought to mind the importance of spiritual growth. 


Saint Paul says, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love,” “conduct yourselves to please God even more.”


In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “Do not become drowsy!”


Faith is not a one-time statement of commitment. 

There are no comfortable plateaus in an authentic spiritual life.

Complacency is the enemy of grace.


Spiritual growth in daily dialogue with the Lord is the key to holiness, lasting joy and peace and, ultimately, eternal salvation.  What are you doing daily to deepen your relationship with God?


2. Vocation 


On Gaudete Sunday, various people in the crowds come to Jesus – each from different walks of life – asking what to do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus answers them, each in a way that corresponds to their own unique situation.  The tax collectors are to stop over-taxing for their own benefit, the soldiers are to be honest and not engage in extortion. 


How much time to you devote to discerning your vocation in life or discerning how the Lord wants you to fulfill your call to priesthood, marriage, or religious life – and the particular assignments or careers within your vocation – for His glory every single day?  Where in your family, your duties, your business or your community do you need to change your behavior in order to conform to God’s law and so inherit eternal life? 


3. Sacrifice


Hebrews reminds us of God’s Word:

When Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.’“

First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings, 
you neither desired nor delighted in.”
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.”
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this “will,” we have been consecrated 

through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


Jesus came to “fulfill the law” not “abolish” it.  So, when the old law is taken away it is fulfilled by an even greater teaching.  The image of Jesus sacrificing His life on the Altar of the Cross reminds us most poignantly that sacrifice is not gone as an element of our faith but rather fulfilled, enhanced and given deeper meaning.


The sacrifices of animals in the Temple in Jerusalem, according to the cumbersome and burdensome ancient Jewish laws, is replaced by a new covenant and a new sacrifice, namely, the self-offering of Jesus, who is at once both priest and victim.  Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s will in offering Himself on the Cross consecrates us who are baptized in the name of Jesus.  The Father is no longer pleased by slaughtering animals but He is pleased by Jesus’ self-abasement.  In the Mass the new covenant and the reality of the sacrifice of Calvary are made present for us. 


As Christians, we are branded with the indelible mark of Baptism, which compels us to live out the self-sacrificing love of Jesus.


How are we humbling and emptying ourselves to serve others each day?  How are we obediently following God’s will in order to build up the Church?

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