Father James with SJS students lighting the first Advent candle for Hope
Letters from a Pastor to His People- December 1, 2019
Many spiritual writers speak of Advent as a time of purification and penance. This is why we invoke purple, a color of mourning. Let me quote from an old spiritual treatise, The Spiritual Life by Adolphe Tanquerey:
The Church invites us to meditate upon the threefold coming of Christ: His advent upon earth through the Incarnation, His entrance into the souls of men through grace, and His appearance at the end of time to judge all mankind. It is chiefly upon the first coming that the Church centers our attention: she recalls to us the longings of the Patriarchs and Prophets, in order to make us long with them for the coming of the promised redeemer and the establishment or strengthening of His Kingdom in our souls. This is, then, a time of holy desires and ardent supplications, a time when we ask God to pour down upon us the dew of grace, and, above all, the Redeemer Himself...these holy desires and penitential practices evidently tend to purify the soul and thus prepare it for the reign of Christ.
Holy desires. Desire is certainly on display in the culture during this time of year. But unfortunately, the desires aren't all holy. They tend to be material desires. Think of Christmas lists. It's like what our Lord said about the people during the days of Noah. They were consumed by their desires to eat and drink and, before they knew it, they were swept away in the flood.
So, let us purify our desires this Advent season. Let us desire a deeper love for God. Let us desire to pray more and be holy. God will give us that gift, and that will be more valuable than anything on your Christmas list.
Please be sure to pick up in the church your free copy of Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary: Unveiling the Mother of the Messiah by Dr. Brant Pitre. This is an excellent, and very informative, read. There is a short video you can watch (see the parish eblast) giving a synopsis of the book. Mary is such a crucial figure for our faith lives, so I hope this will help build your relationship to the Mother of God during this Advent season.
CCD has its penance service (grades 6-8) on Wednesday evening. That Wednesday morning I will be over at Notre Dame College Prep for its penance service (next week I’ll go to St. Pat’s). Save the date: our parish penance service will be Monday, December 16th at 7pm. Of course, you're welcome to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation any Saturday afternoon.
This upcoming Friday, December 6th is a First Friday, thus we will have Eucharistic Adoration in the church from 9am until 5:45pm. Again, this is a great way to spend part of your Advent, praying in silence with the Lord in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Please consider even signing up for a half hour (or more) slot as an Adorer.
The Women's Center Advent/Christmas Wreaths will be on sale in the back of the church next weekend, December 7/8.
Looking ahead, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is typically a holy day of obligation, but since December 8th falls on Sunday, this year it is not. This is from the American Bishops:
Since December 8, 2019, is the Second Sunday of Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is transferred to Monday, December 9, 2019. The obligation to attend Mass, however, does not transfer. The Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, December 9, is omitted this year.
Masses on Monday, December 9th will at 7am and 8:30am in the chapel, as usual.
Yours in Christ,