Tag Archives: Preparation

Monday Conversation: What will you do for Lent? Catholic Inspiration

Cross

The season of Lent offers a powerful opportunity for conversion, spiritual growth, and developing our relationships with the Lord and one another.  However, I also know that this season has a way of sneaking up on us.  Life moves fast, and we can get caught up in any number of tasks – missing the necessary preparation and perspective to get the most out of these 40 Days.

As a guide, I suggest starting with the “Fruits of the Spirit” that St. Paul writes about in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23).  They are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

First, do we see these in our lives?  Are there people, situations, interactions, locations (home, work, school, community) where we see consistent evidence of their presence?  If so, then how can we help them flourish and grow?  How can we create more opportunities to allow the Spirit to work in our lives?

Second, are these absent in our lives?  Or worse, are their opposites present?  Is hatred, despair, turmoil, and the like alive in our hearts?  If so, how can we make the necessary changes to allow the Spirit into our lives?

Now here’s how this gets practical.  It is often customary during Lent to “do” something or “give up” something for these 40 days.  How about this…

  1. “Do” something that fosters the Fruits of the Spirit in my life.
  2. “Give up” something that is in conflict with the Fruits of the Spirit.

Where do we look?  Try this for starters…

  1. WHAT we do – the Activity
  2. WHO we do it with – the People
  3. WHERE we do it – the Location

“Doing” can include any number of things:

  • Helping a neighbor, family member or friend – in a spirit of kindness and gentleness
  • Drawing near to people who are spiritually good – who make us more loving and peaceful
  • Spending time on activities that help us use God’s talents in a good and holy way
  • Concentrating our efforts on opportunities where we know that God is present
  • Being in locations and situations that foster a strong and healthy life

“Giving up” can look like this:

  • Is there anything destructive, harmful, unholy, or evil that needs to be removed?
  • Are there people who are leading us to harm or destruction?
  • Are there locations, situations, or circumstances that are unholy for us?

Using the “Fruits of the Spirit” as a measurement, we can quickly reveal the pattern of our lives.  If it is spiritually fruitful, then we can strengthen this.  If it is spiritually destructive, then perhaps this season of Lent gives us an opportunity to give it up and start directing our lives in better ways.

Furthermore, Lent has classic opportunities for Study, Prayer, and Service:

Study: Scripture, the Catechism, a Devotional, Spiritual Reading

Prayer: Mass, Confession, Rosary, Scripture, Devotions, Stations of the Cross

Service: at home, the neighborhood, the community, the Church

God keeps inviting, keeps forgiving, and keeps extending grace and mercy to all who seek it.  Now is the time to get ready for a powerful Lent – where we turn to Jesus and allow His grace to transform our hearts.  Give serious thought to what you can do to make this season special, and open your to heart to Jesus Christ.

What will you do?  What will you give up?  Make it a great Lent!

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This post was originally published on February 26, 2014.


Daily Mass: Getting prepared. Catholic Inspiration

When you cook, you need a certain amount of time to get prepared: clear the work space; make an ingredients list; set out your utensils and cookware.  In a similar way we need time and attention to prepare to encounter Jesus Christ in our spiritual lives.  May the example of John the Baptist inspire us to make the necessary preparations we need, and empower us to help others encounter the Lord as well.

Mass Readings – Thursday of the 2nd Week of Advent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


1st Sunday of Advent: Are you ready?

Study: Consider an experience where you were able to be still, pause and reflect.  How can you make that pattern happen this Advent?

Pray: Carve out a few minutes this season for quiet prayer.  Reflect on your life and invite the Lord to dwell in your heart.

Serve: There are many opportunities this time of year to help others.  Look around for an activity that speaks to your soul.

Mass Readings – 1st Sunday of Advent

Advent is one of those seasons that has the power to surprise us.  Just like the relationship between Lent and Easter, Advent offers us a time to prepare our hearts for the great feast of Christmas.  In this short season we discover the themes of Preparation, Waiting, Expectation, Repentance, and Stillness.

The thing is…if we aren’t ready for Advent then the whirlwind rush of December can sweep us up into the frenzy of the commercial side of the holiday.  Many people are so busy – concerts, parties, family events, purchasing gifts and partaking of the “forced fun” of consumerism’s attempt at a Hallmark Christmas…

Whew!  Instead, we can take a deep breath, pray, and reflect on where the Lord is leading us at this moment in our lives.  Consider the readings this Sunday:

  • 1st Reading – Isaiah acknowledges that the people are far from God
  • Psalm – “Lord make us turn to you; show us your face and we shall be saved.”
  • 2nd Reading – St. Paul encourages the people of Corinth to be faithful to the end.
  • Gospel – The Lord exhorts us to be watchful and alert.

So in these short days of preparation here are a few questions to ponder:

  • Where I can find a little stillness and quiet in my life?
  • How is the Lord calling me to pray?
  • Is there anything or anyone that requires special attention?
  • Where is the Lord leading me right now?
  • What do I need to do as I prepare for Christmas?
  • How can I help someone in this quiet season of Advent?

You get the idea.  Step back, pause, and consider in the busy pace that many of us call normal how the Lord is directing your heart.  Advent has a beauty and power; our task is to enter into this season and allow God to speak to our souls.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


1st Sunday of Advent – Be prepared! Catholic Inspiration

1st-advent

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

Mass Readings – 1st Sunday of Advent

All of the Scripture readings evoke a call to action; we are invited to get ready, be prepared, and attentive to the Lord and one another.  May this Advent season – a gift of the Church – help us all to get our hearts and minds ready for the birth of Jesus Christ!


1st Sunday of Advent: When the Son of Man Comes.

advent

Study: Consider one thing you can do today to live your faith.  What would it be?

Pray: Do you have any unfinished business that you need to complete?  Ask the Lord for the strength and conviction to finish it.

Serve: Is there someone in your life who struggles with depression, fear, or doubt?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – 1st Sunday of Advent

We start a new liturgical year in the Church (that’s “Year A” if you need to use the Lectionary for Sunday readings and “Cycle I” for daily Mass) with a vision of the end of time when the Son of Man comes in glory.

Several key points emerge:

  1. It will happen suddenly, when no one expects it (Gospel)
  2. All nations will come and be taught God’s ways (1st Reading)
  3. It is the Lord who makes peace possible, not humans (1st Reading)
  4. In God’s house there is great joy (Psalm)
  5. We live each day fully prepared, ready if the Lord call us (2nd Reading)

Advent gives us a rich – but very short – opportunity to prepare our hearts for Christmas.  All of these points listed above serve as excellent reminders regarding how we live each day fully invested in the present moment.  We live for the Lord, following his commands, so as to be ready whenever and wherever our lives will take the next turn in the road.

For when God calls us into eternity we hear that the unity, peace, and joy we glimpse in precious moments in this life will come to fulfillment.  United in the Lord, we will join the heavenly host when this world passes away.

I invite us all to consider how we might do one thing better each day – to be more focused, more aware, more present – so that we can give glory and honor to Jesus Christ.  We follow the Lord with all our hearts; may we make the most of every day to live our faith to the fullest.

May this Advent be a time of blessing for us all!


Daily Mass: Our Response and Preparation. Catholic Inspiration

Here-I-Am-Man

Fr. Andrew’s Daily Mass Homily Podcast

Mass Readings – Thursday of the 20th Week of the Year

To respond to a call is one thing, to come prepared with one’s best effort is another.  As we follow the Lord’s call we renew our hearts to give God our very best.


4th Sunday of Advent – Leap for Joy

leap-foro-joy

Study:  Where do you find joy in your life?  How can you foster joy in your heart?

Pray:  Is there something in your heart that is suffering?  Ask the Lord to touch and bless your concerns.

Serve:  How can you bring joy to others?  How can you share Christ’s love with someone in need?

4th Sunday of Advent Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

The encounter between two pregnant women – Mary & Elizabeth – reveals the Good News of Jesus Christ even while he was still in the womb.  Elizabeth carries her son John, a child blessed to her and her husband Zechariah in their old age.  The infant “leaped for joy” in the womb of his mother Elizabeth when Mary (and Jesus) drew near.

I like the phrase “leaped for joy” on many levels:

  • It flows directly from our notion of the Good News of Christ.
  • It speaks to a deep longing in our hearts.
  • It wakes us up to the power and beauty of life right here and now.
  • It challenges us to reconnect with joy, especially when we feel joyless.

Friends, Christmas is just around the corner…are we ready?  I’m not talking about shopping, travel plans, or food preparation – I’m talking about our hearts.  Are we ready to welcome Jesus Christ into our hearts…with JOY?

It is easy to get caught up in the distractions and stresses of life.  Life carries its own challenges, and if we are struggling with added pressure, worry, anxiety and fear it can seem overwhelming.  Sometimes we can empathize with Ebenezer Scrooge!

Yet the Gospel message transforms the listener.  Christ comes into our world to bridge the gap caused by sin.  We have the promise of new life!  Thus, in the remaining days to Christmas, I suggest the following:

  1. Cultivate gratitude for the blessings of your life.
  2. Take time for daily prayer, and offer your deepest needs to the Lord.
  3. Give yourself permission to savor the beauty and delight of the season.
  4. Make an effort to connect with loved ones…and possibly seek reconciliation with enemies.

When Christmas comes will be able to welcome the Christ child with joy?  May this last week of Advent give us the time and opportunity we need to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord.