First Sunday in Advent
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

“Be vigilant at all times and pray.” To know the Lord, to love him and to serve him is at the heart of our Catholic faith and our Christian duty – it is our salvation. It is simply who we are and what we must do to more fully realize our identity as beloved children of God and more fully live out our call to become faithful witnesses of God’s love, evangelizers of his Gospel and missionaries of his mercy and peace in the world and to our families. We are called and invited to deepen our knowledge of God by understanding his divine plan and living in his holy will now and always, today and every day, in every thought and every action, in every prayer and in every inaction.  We are called and invited to deepen our love of God so as to love him intentionally and freely with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our body and with all our soul. We are called and invited to serve him in faith, in joy, in love and in ministry through random acts of kindness and intentional works of mercy. We can do this by spending more quality time with sacred scripture, by more fully entering into silent prayer, by more faithfully celebrating the Sacraments of God’s infinite love and divine mercy and by simply living every moment, every action, every thought, every situation, every conversation in accordance with God’s divine plan and his holy will. Mary is certainly our humble role model, our faithful example, our spiritual guide, our beloved Mother. She abandoned herself, her thoughts, her will to live according to God’s way, God’s word, God’s will. Mary loves us, intercedes for us, prays unceasingly for us.  Perhaps this is a good time to ask Mary, in prayer, to assist you with your Advent preparation, to more fully enter into the sacred mystery of God’s holy redeeming love on Christmas Day and throughout the Christmas Season. Ask Mary to spend some quiet time with you in silence and in prayer. Ask Mary for the grace to help you to more intimately and personally know God as Father, Brother, Friend. Ask Mary to help you to understand all the ways God has blessed you, your work, your family, your ministry. Ask Mary for the courage to know God’s plan for you and for the strength to surrender entirely to his holy will by saying from your heart like Mary did, “May it be done to me according to your word.”

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