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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Wednesday

First Sunday of Advent: Preparing a quiet place for God

Readings for the First Sunday of Advent
 
Each year as Advent comes upon us, we as Christians and as Catholics, are faced once again with the same dilemma. The Church is telling us it is the season of Advent, a time of recollection and preparation, and yet, all around us we see and hear the sounds of Christmas! It’s difficult not to get caught up in the joy and anticipation of such a wonderful season.
 
Christmas is a beautiful time of year, and it should draw us in and fill us with a unique type of warmth and love. But the Church asks us to take these four weeks of Advent and find some time — at least a little time — to quiet our minds and hearts and prepare a place there, within ourselves, for the voice of God.
 
Within the first two weeks of Advent we are asked to think not so much about Jesus coming to Earth as a tiny babe in Bethlehem, but rather, we are asked to take a more reflective look to the day when our Savior, Jesus Christ, will come again at the end of time. In the Apostle’s Creed we say that we believe “in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Well, that’s what the Church is asking us to reflect on this Sunday.
 
This Sunday’s first reading from Isaiah is filled with a yearning for God to come back to us and to make God’s self known to us again. Isaiah prays: “Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!” We are asking that, when God does come again, we might be found doing what God would have us do; that we might be living as the people God has made us to be. And in the psalm we pray: “Lord, make us turn to you.” We are saying to God: “Make us turn to you!” We say this because we know how easy it is to forget about God who is always so present to us, and yet, so easily ignored.
 
Let’s try not to forget about God’s love this Advent. Let us try to be watchful as Jesus asks us to be “watchful” in this Sunday’s Gospel. We don’t know when Christ will come again, but, we can ready ourselves for Him. We can be watchful and hope-filled with a childlike confidence that we are loved by Jesus and we have a home in Him.
 
These few weeks before Christmas, prepare a room in your heart for all of Christ’s children. You will meet them in the poor, the lonely, the anxious and the depressed. You will see them in the outcast and the stranger and those who simply feel as though nobody cares — especially at this time of year. By doing this, we remain watchful and ready for the coming of Christ, at the end of time, and yes, as a beautiful little child in the manger at Bethlehem. Prepare a very special room in your heart — for Him.
 
Anthony Michalik, C.Ss.R., professed his first vows as a Redemptorist in August 2011. He is a first-year theology student at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. He is a member of the Redemptorist formation community in residence at Mission Church in Boston, MA.