One of the scariest things I do as a priest is my annual retreat.
Canon Law requires that priests take a retreat once a year, and I always try to take mine during Advent. It helps me:
1) rest up for Christmas
2) get my homilies for Christmas, January 1, Holy Family, Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, etc. together
3) Advent is my favorite time of year and the perfect time for a retreat
That being said, it is also terrifying, and as it gets closer, I get really nervous.
It is really hard to go from 100 mph to contemplation/meditation/prayer.
It is very similar to what most of you all experience as well. Our daily lives keep us hopping, and “finding time for God” is hard.
I also think, however, that there is a big part of us that WANTS to be distracted because, at least subconsciously, we are AFRAID of what we will find when we encounter Christ in the silence.
There is the beautiful passage from Scripture about the Prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 19:
“Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle”
Silence is terrifying, and I always am nervous about heading into it.
I also know it is exactly what I need and the Church is wise to instruct Her priests to “head for the silence” and to be still with God.
Keep me in your prayers this week, and know of mine for all of you!
Fr. John Hollowell
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Scripture excerpt from the daily readings:
“I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11)
Reflection: With the coming of Christ, the chosen people are no longer just the Jews but all of humanity. The Gospels suggest that this “preaching and calling of all nations” will take place mostly DESPITE the efforts of Catholics more so than BECAUSE OF the work of Catholics. What are we doing to help call ALL people to the Church, the Bride of Christ? Do I think it matters if a person is even Catholic? Do I know people at work, do I know friends or family, do I have friends who are STARVING to know God but need me to invite them?
Is Advent a time where I simply think of it as me preparing myself for the return of the King or do I see it as an opportunity to reach out and help others properly prepare themselves for the return of the King as well?
Read the day’s entire readings by clicking HERE
Advent song for the day:
For he who calls you is no stranger;
Awake, God’s own Jerusalem!
Hear, the midnight bells are chiming
The signal for his royal coming:
Let voice to voice announce his name!
We feel his footsteps near,
The Bridegroom at the door–
Alleluia! The lamps will shine
With light divine
As Christ the savior comes to reign.
Our hearts are thrilled with sudden longing;
She stirs, and wakes, and stands prepared.
Christ, her friend, and lord, and lover,
Her star and sun and strong redeemer–
At last his mighty voice is heart.
The Son of God has come
To make with us his home:
Sing Hosanna! The fight is won,
The feast begun;
We fix our eyes on Christ alone.
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