Have you ever watched a bird build a nest? It is quite fascinating! Using sticks, leaves, mud and feathers, she carefully crafts a nest for her young … she builds a home to welcome life. She is deliberate and determined.
The Season of Advent is like building a nest … we must be deliberate and determined in our practice of faith – daily prayer, confession, Mass, in the practice of virtue, the choices we make and how we treat one another … But our determination in this season of hope, anticipation, must also be accompanied by an openness. Why must we engage in these practices – for the same reason the bird builds her nest …. For an openness to life – but this life is the life of the Son of God within us … it is a life of grace lived in and through Christ … it is the we are meant to live – not just called to, meant to live … in others to have in mind the purpose of our lives, the destination of our souls …
The opening prayer of the Mass – also known as the “collect” because as priest, my role is to collect your prayers and intentions and offer them to God in one, singular prayer – we hear the phrase: “run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming…” To run to something is to have clear focused attention on a particular point of reference, a destination, a purpose … It is determined and deliberate … active not passive.
The destination of our lives, our souls, is toward God … and we are meant – the purpose of our lives – is to live in such a way that builds a home for Him. As such, how we build that house matters … the sticks, the leaves, the mud, etc … these are the righteous deeds of virtue and goodness, the practice of faith, the confessing of our sins … it is deliberate and determined.
This Advent I would like to issue a challenge … That all of us focus more attentively on the things of God … to pay closer attention to Him – to watch for Him in our everyday lives … therefore, I urge you to make Mass and confession a regular part of your Advent journey – Mass, not just on Sunday, but once or twice during the week as well. Because it is in the Eucharist, in the Mass, where Christ makes Himself present and known to us … Here is where we SEE Him, albeit veiled yet nevertheless, He is present here. In order to make this challenge more visible – if you have been following along in the bulletin – I will be facing the Tabernacle for Masses during the week … looking ahead, forward to God together, we then can have a more focused attention on Him and thus begin to build a home … a interior place where the life of God’s grace may be welcomed, nurtured and have the power to transform us more and more into His own likeness.