Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; Break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain down justice upon you.” Hosea 10: 12

No, this is not about relationships. It is about new beginnings. And we are in the first week of a new year! Did you know that? That’s right, we just began the season of Advent in the Church and for us, it means a new liturgical year! And what do people do at the beginning of a new year? They make resolutions.

So what kind of resolutions can you make right now about your life? Many people automatically think about improving their health: they quit smoking, they stop drinking, they eat less fattening foods, they begin an exercise routine. All good things. But in Advent—the Christian New Year—we are asked to think about how we can improve our spiritual health which is of vast more importance than our physical health (see 1 Timothy 4: 7-8).

So how can we do this? We need to prepare our hearts to receive the grace of God this year. The grace that comes to us at so many moments as the liturgical year unfolds. As the mysteries of God and salvation history are re-presented to us and made real for us today, we encounter the Person of Jesus and have the opportunity to be swept up and away by His love through His grace. Through the sacraments: when we receive Jesus—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist at Mass, when we are cleansed from our sins and purified to the core of our being in Reconciliation, when we spend time in contemplation before the Lord in Adoration, just listening to His voice within our hearts.

We need to break up the stony parts of our hearts and till the soil of our souls. We need to do whatever it takes to open more and more of our lives to the One who came to us 2,000 years ago as a baby, still comes to us today in the humility of the Eucharist and who will come again in all of His power, majesty and glory at the end of time. Now is the time to seek the Lord, now is the time to put aside our vices and to start working on being virtuous in all things. And as we begin to do these things, the fruits of the Holy Spirit will flow from us as the Lord rains down on us with His love and mercy and justice. This isn’t easy. It’s hard to break up the hard parts of our hearts and to root out that which keeps us from Him. But all things are possible in Him. May we start anew this Advent season. May we re-commit to Jesus with our whole hearts.

Dear Jesus, help me to seek You and to prepare my heart to receive You more and more during this Advent season. May Your grace envelope and penetrate every fiber of my being during this new liturgical year, that I may be ready to receive You with joy. Amen.

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