Back in June, Pope Francis gave a homily based on St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. He taught that, while grace is freely given, we need to prepare our hearts to receive God’s grace so that we do not “receive the grace of God in vain.” This means to be attentive to God in prayer, and to reflect God’s grace in our daily action.
Pope Francis lamented about how often we hear people speak of Christians who go to Mass on Sundays, but then live their lives like pagans. So the Holy Father exhorted us to free ourselves from the noise and the passion of the pagan world around us, to remove those things that disturb our peace of mind, and to to seek peace in our relationships by living in love.
This is what our Advent journey has been all about. We’ve been praying, sacrificing and giving alms in order to free ourselves from the pagan influences around us so we can more attentively listen to the voice of God in our lives.
Advent – It’s Not Just for Christmas Anymore!
One important thing to understand about the Church is that many of the practices she prescribes are meant to give us a “safety net.” In other words, the practices are the bare minimum we should be doing as Christians. The practices of the Church are also meant to remind us of what we should be doing on a regular basis.
So at this point in Advent we need to ask ourselves to questions:
1. Have we been doing what we need to do to prepare our hearts for Jesus to come to us in a new and more powerful way?
2. What are we going to do to continue preparing our hearts beyond Advent?
What Kind of Christian Do You Want to Be?
Pope Francis’ homily from June challenges us to think about what kind of Christian we want to be. Will we be the kind of Christian that is transformed by the world, living our lives like the “pagans” of our time? Or will we be true disciples of Jesus, constantly working to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus more and more completely and letting His grace change the way we live?
Let’s do everything we can so that on Christmas and every other day of the year we can cry out with confidence, “Our hearts are ready, Lord! Our hearts are ready.”