Advent: A Time to “Fast and Feast”

In a few months, our parish will welcome a dynamic and inspiring singer/songwriter to share her faith-filled personal journey with us. Her name is Renee Bondi and I encourage you to visit her website at ReneeBondi.com to become familiar with her story. We can all learn something from her (and everyone else we encounter). I have chosen to share a story that Renee wrote in a blog several years ago.

Here we are in the season of Advent which encompasses the four weeks leading up to the celebration of Christmas. Advent comes from the Latin “ad venire” or “to come to.” As a child in church I always heard, “Come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus” to which I’d think, “Well, hasn’t he already come? He’s already been born and walked the earth otherwise we wouldn’t be celebrating his birthday, right?” I confess it was always a bit confusing to me.

It wasn’t until later that I learned that Advent is a season of preparation directing our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time, in addition to preparing for the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on the day we celebrate as Christmas.

Directing our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time…hmm…now that’s a bigger directive than just decorating your local church in purple and making sure we have enough ushers for Christmas masses or services. We’re talking eternity here. Admittedly, as a wife, mom, in-law, sister, aunt, godmother and friend, it’s easy for me to forget to direct my heart and mind to Christ’s second coming. After all, there’s a lot to do to prepare for the parties and presents!

But here are some great, practical ideas from American author, teacher and pastor William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) on how we can prepare for Christ’s second coming as well as for the anniversary of his birth

Fast from emphasis on differences – Feast on the unity of life.

Fast from apparent darkness – Feast on the reality of light.

Fast from thoughts of illness – Feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute – Feast on phrases that purify. 

Fast from discontent – Feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger – Feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism – Feast on optimism.

Fast from worry – Feast on divine order.

Fast from judging others – Feast on the Christ dwelling in them.

Fast from complaining – Feast on appreciation.

Fast from negatives – Feast on affirmatives.

Fast from unrelenting pressures – Feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from hostility – Feast on non-resistance.

Fast from bitterness – Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-concern – Feast on compassion for others.

Fast from personal anxiety – Feast on eternal truth.

Fast from discouragements – Feast on hope.

Fast from facts that depress – Feast on verities that uplift 

Fast from lethargy – Feast on enthusiasm. 

Fast from thoughts that weaken – Feast on promises that inspire. 

Fast from shadows of sorrow – Feast on the sunlight of serenity.

Fast from idle gossip – Feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from problems that overwhelm – Feast on prayer that strengthens.

SIX-MINUTE DAILY DEVOTIONAL “Little Blue Book for Advent”
Last week, the Stewardship Team handed out Advent Daily Devotionals (free of charge) for any parishioner who wants to have a mentor on their journey this Advent. There are still some available in the vestibule. Please take one for yourself; you’re welcome to take another to share with a friend.

“BEST ADVENT EVER”
During Lent this year, you were invited to Join Matthew Kelly, America’s bestselling Catholic author, and other leading Catholic voices of our time on a life-changing journey with “The Best Lent Ever”.

Dynamic Catholic is offering “Best Advent Ever” Rediscover Mercy. All you need to do is visit the website at DynamicCatholic.com and sign up. It’s free. You will receive daily inspirational emails with short videos, encouragement, and coaching for Advent.

ADVENT WREATHS AND CANDLES
This holy time of preparation is upon us! One of our beautiful Catholic traditions is the daily lighting of the Advent wreath. All families are encouraged to have a wreath in their home and spend a few minutes every day during Advent to light a candle and say a short prayer. It can be as short or as involved as you want it to be.

Advent candles ($5) and Advent wreaths ($10) are on sale this weekend before all Masses. This is not a fundraiser but a convenience that we offer to you in hopes of making the season all that it is meant to be. We also have copies of Advent prayers to accompany the wreaths and candles