From Season of Promises
You have given your holy body to strengthen my weak mind and body, and you have given your word for a lamp to my feet. Without these two things I cannot live as I ought, for the word of God is the light of my soul, and your sacrament the bread that gives me life.
(Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ)
Advent is a time of quiet hope and expectation. But it is also a time to recall that we cannot live as we ought as long as we simply “go with the flow.” The secular world bombards us daily with secular values, beliefs, and assumptions that know nothing of God’s love or a spiritual life. Advent is a special time that reminds us that our values, beliefs, and assumptions are different. We look forward to Christmas for reasons many people know nothing about or to which they only give lip service.
How can we keep our faith alive if we don’t nourish it? Have we forgotten the importance of frequent participation in the Eucharist? Have we ever taken seriously the need to pray daily with the scriptures? These two sources of spiritual nourishment never go out of style. In fact, we can’t live as we ought without them. We can’t.
Advent is the season of hope and expectation, but do we give this hope and expectation more than token allegiance? Do this hope and this expectation stir us deeply, touch our heart? Does this hope hit us where we live? Does this expectation mean anything to us? Can we go to the trouble to get to Mass more than once a week during Advent? Can we take the trouble to spend a few minutes each day with scripture?
If we do these things, Advent will come alive in unexpected ways. Truly unexpected ways.
Loving Lord, help me to make extra efforts to nourish my loving intimacy with you. Amen.