Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Few of us like waiting. Waiting in line. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for someone who’s late to an appointment. It taxes our patience and requires time out of our day that we feel we just can’t spare.
We are now entering a season that’s all about waiting. Advent is a time to wait and prepare for the coming of Christ — as a baby in a manger at Christmas and at the end of time. It’s a season we are tempted to skip over as we make holiday plans, decorate our homes and shop for Christmas gifts. But not entering this season of waiting would be a great mistake. This time is an early gift — one that helps us to focus less on ourselves and more clearly and intentionally on the One who is coming, the One we are waiting for: Jesus Christ, our hope and salvation. Advent reminds us to “be vigilant at all times” (Luke 21:36). To be ready. To be prepared for his arrival. How can we do this?
First, let’s resist the stressful frenzy of our consumeristic culture. Instead, let’s make an intentional effort to slow down in these weeks before Christmas and devote more time to prayer at the beginning or end of our day. I encourage you to set up an Advent wreath and reflect more deeply on the Scripture readings for each Sunday of Advent. How is Christ calling you to prepare for his coming?
Follow The Central Minnesota Catholic’s Instagram and the Diocese of St. Cloud’s Facebook accounts for daily Advent-inspired quotes and reflections #WhyWeWait.
Second, take advantage of the sacrament of penance. Examining our consciences and asking for God’s forgiveness can help us set right our relationships with God and our loved ones.
Last, in addition to taking time to focus inwardly, take time also to focus on the needs of those around you in your parish and community. Acts of service and compassion help us to prepare to meet Christ in the manger and in the faces of everyone we encounter.
Advent is about waiting, but it is about waiting with hope, preparation and anticipation for the complete joy that only Christ can bring us. May God bless you and your loved ones during these holy seasons of Advent and Christ.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of St. Cloud