This Advent, as we’re trimming the trees, wrapping the gifts, and preparing for our big Christmas dinner, are we preparing our hearts as well? In all of the work that Christmas preparation entails, we should not be simply preparing to give gifts for the sake of giving gifts or trimming the trees simply because we like the decor. We are preparing to welcome the King of Kings at Christmas — this Advent season, that ought to be our primary focus.
“Think about how you prepare when you know a special guest is coming,” Fr. Bill says. “If Pope Francis were coming to your house, you would clean the house and get out the fine china. You’d make sure the yard was spotless. That’s how we need to prepare our hearts for Jesus this Advent.”
What’s more, Fr. Bill says that watching his sisters live their pregnancies over the years has given him a greater appreciation for Advent’s place in the liturgical year.
“It’s like we are in the third trimester, preparing to welcome Jesus,” he says. “When I watched my sisters in the third trimesters of their pregnancies, I noticed how much they began to nest. They prepared the baby’s room. They cleaned the house. They got everything in order as best they could. We are in nesting mode as a Church during Advent. We need to spend time making sure there is room in our hearts for Christ this Christmas.”
So, how do we do this? Fr. Bill says that the number-one thing he encourages us to do this Advent is to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
“When you see the priest wearing purple, it is time to repent,” Fr. Bill says. “Clean the house!”
There are numerous opportunities throughout the deanery for us to make it to Confession. We will have a penance service here at Queen of the Holy Rosary on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. There will be multiple priests present to hear Confessions, and we encourage you to attend. In addition, there are penance services scheduled at other area churches throughout the Advent season. Find one and partake in the healing sacrament. Queen of the Holy Rosary will also have an additional time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation every Wednesday throughout Advent at 5:30 p.m.
In addition to partaking of the healing balm of Reconciliation, Fr. Bill encourages us to grow in our spiritual lives through the 12 steps of Ignatian spirituality. He will be giving talks on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius and the 12 steps therein, and he encourages all of us to attend.
“My talks will focus on how to apply St. Ignatius’s 12 steps for amazing growth in your spiritual life,”
Fr. Bill says.
These talks will take place on Dec. 5 and Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. in the church.
Another way in which Fr. Bill encourages us to prepare our hearts this Advent is by serving Jesus in the poor. There are numerous ways for us to do that throughout the area and the larger world. Find the time. Put forth the effort. Love Jesus through those less fortunate.
“See Jesus in the disguise of the poor,” Fr. Bill says. “He came as a poor child born in a cave. Consider serving the poor this Advent. Consider what you spend on your children or your grandchildren, and offer some of that to those in need.”
On the first Saturday of each month, our parishioners join the Poor Jesus Christ Sisters who go into the streets to serve the poor around us. Join them! And if you can’t do that, consider volunteering at the St. Mary’s Food Kitchen or adopting a child through the World Mission in India or through the mission in Belize.
“Give Jesus a gift this Christmas by remembering Him in the disguise of the poor and serving them accordingly,” Fr. Bill says.
And last, but most certainly not least, Fr. Bill encourages each of us to find time to adore the Lord in the Eucharist this Advent season.
“This is a year of Eucharistic Revival,” Fr. Bill says. “Find time to come to Him and spend time in His Eucharistic Presence.”
However you choose to enter into this Advent season, do so intentionally, preparing for Christ. Find time to grow closer to Him this Advent accordingly!
Advent Penance Service
Sunday, Dec. 3 — 3 p.m.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Dec. 12 — 6 p.m.
Christmas Family Sing Along
Dec. 17 — 3 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 23 — 4 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 24 — 7 a.m. and
9 a.m. (NO 11:00 Mass this Day)
4 p.m., 7 p.m., midnight
Dec. 25 — 10 a.m.
New Year’s Day Liturgy
Sunday, Dec. 31 — 4 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 1 — 10 a.m.