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November 19, 2019

4 Advent intentions: Forgiveness, encounter, service and prayer


4 Advent intentions
 

The end of the year is here, and Christmas preparations are everywhere. We see decorations, lights, trees, nativity scenes and many other visual representations of the season. You probably hear a lot about gifts, parties and social gatherings, but it seems very little is said about preparing one’s heart to celebrate the birth of Our Savior. Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” and it is a time of grace that invites us to prepare and ready our hearts for the arrival of the Lord. In this short reflection, I would like to propose four intentions that we can incorporate into our Advent and end-of-year traditions.

Forgive

My first intention for drawing us closer to the Lord is forgiveness. Let’s take a closer look at our hearts, examining the wounds we have, the grudges we keep, the people who have failed us and those whom we have failed. John the Baptist preached in the desert,

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)

To return to God, we have to return to our brothers through forgiveness. We have all, perhaps, seen and experienced family members who do not speak to one another because of an argument; friends who stop talking because of misunderstandings or mistakes. We can find many reasons to hold grudges, but the arrival of the Lord comes with love, peace and reconciliation. May forgiveness help us prepare for Christmas.

Encounter

The second intention that I propose is to encounter. Pope Francis consistently reminds us to be an outgoing Church, seeking the ignored, the forgotten and the rejected in our society.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:35-6)

We can receive the Lord by helping families that face financial difficulty, by bringing joy to the elderly, or by accompanying and comforting the sick. We can also find the Lord in visiting children living shelters or in visiting a friend who is alone, inviting him into our home to share a meal. These small actions lead us to an encounter with the Lord.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Service

My third suggestion and intention is to serve. During Advent, we wait for the Lord who comes to serve. Therefore, as disciples, we are called to imitate him.

“Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:28)

Service can start at home helping with household chores. Families can bring that spirit of service to their workplaces or schools. As Christians, we are called to share our gifts with others. Parishes always need volunteers or new collaborators in liturgy, and ministries or apostolates need servants.

Prayer

My fourth intention for this Advent season is prayer. Let’s take the time to meditate on the Sacred Scripture, the Liturgy of the Hours, Holy Mass, during and after visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and during personal prayer. The Church wisely begins the liturgical year with four weeks of preparation for Christmas. Traditionally, we’ll find an Advent wreath in many parishes; its four candles from Sunday to Sunday, representing the approach of Christmas and of darkness dissipating with the light. Let us also prepare our own wreath at home and light each candle, guided by these new Advent intentions.

 

Four songs for the season of Advent:

 

 

Iván Díaz

 

Iván is involved in diocesan youth conventions, Hispanic charismatic conventions, music workshops and other events all across the country. He hopes that his music and testimony become instruments for all to experience the love of God.

Book Iván for an event here!