Today is the eve of the eve ... and since I have not posted since the 7th of December, I feel the need to not only post but to express my regrets for taking such a long time away from the keyboard.
Our prayers this morning at liturgy asked that the Lord's mercy flow from his Word into our lives, and that he may grant us peace that we may be ready, with lighted lamps, to meet the dearly beloved Son of God at his coming. He has come in time and history, he is present in this moment of our existence, and he will come again in glory. That is our deep and abiding belief and this is the reason for our confidence and joy.
Advent has been a time of waiting, a time of preparation, and for me a time of reflection. Last week was the marathon of blessings and grace that flowed from our local parish Penance Services. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday saw hundreds of God's people gather to pray and be reconciled through the ministry of the local priests and others who were able to help. I sensed less of a hectic pace to these gatherings and more of a peaceful and prayerful spirit. As I always say, I come away exhausted but deeply blessed by this aspect of ministry. The last few days saw the transformation of the church gathering space into a beautiful setting for Christmas. Our manger scene in particular has grown more beautiful over the last few years, and our poinsettia plants, purchased from a local florist, are huge and vibrant in their colors. All is ready, I hope, for the great celebration of our Lord's birth.
I was honored to be asked to give the Advent day of reflection to the priests of the diocese early in the season, and while this is a daunting task, it was a pleasure to share with my brothers a message of hope that can be found in our shared ministry.
This Fall has seen a series of health issues and challenges to mobility that continue to plague me, and I am feeling older than I am. Oh, to have the energy and stamina that I once had! To be limited is humbling, but it brings out the understanding and graciousness in others, and for that I am truly grateful.
I pray that you are all prepared, that you have readied the way of the Lord, and that your anticipation of the grace promised is heightened. The Communion Antiphon for today, taken from Revelation, is
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock:
if anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me,
I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me."
Are you ready to open the door and share in the feast?