Posted by: Fr Chris | November 16, 2019

Saint Philip Fast and Advent

I will be preaching an Advent Mission December 9-11, 2019, at Our Lady of Fatima Church on Lomas Boulevard NE. That will be the second week of Advent for Roman Catholics, but halfway through the preparation season followed by Christians who adhere to the Byzantine Rite. For Byzantine Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, Saint Philip’s Fast began on November 15, forty days before Christmas.

In the East, this is still a season of fasting, penance, and reflection. Feast days of prophets abound, those brave men who heard God’s Voice and wrote about the coming Messiah. We are urged to expand our abstinence from meat from Friday to Wednesday and Monday. Above all, we are urged to prepare our hearts and souls for the Christ Child, the God-Man Who loves us so much that He willingly enters into our world, and will ascend the Cross  in order to save us.

Child Jesus/ Cross 8x10 | DEVOTIE | Pinterest | Crosses, Children and Jesus

So, how ready is my heart for Jesus? Am I prepared to welcome Him? In the rush of buying presents, going to parties, hearing countless ads on television and radio urging us to BUY, BUY, BUY MORE AND MORE – do I buy time for Him in my heart?
Will I open the depth of my heart to Him?

199 best Christian Symbolism images on Pinterest | Catholic art, Christian art and Religious art

God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son. The Baby Whose birth we prepare for is the same Person Who will sweat blood in the Garden on Holy Thursday. He is the same Person Who will suffer incredible tortures and humiliation. Our Blessed Lady, the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, will truly have her heart pierced beholding  her beloved Boy on the Cross. We forget all this with movies about Santa, “Christmas spirit”, Christmas love, Christmas at home, Christmas on the mountain, Christmas with snow — tons and tons of holiday films that will never once mention the true  Spirit of Christmas. That is the self-giving, the willing humility, of God becoming Incarnate in the womb of Our Lady. But even more, He wishes to enter into EACH ONE OF US at Holy Communion, through the Consecrated Gifts.
That must be our goal for Advent, for Saint Philip’s Fast, for Great Lent, for every week of the year: to be transformed by God’s grace in our reception of the Most Holy Eucharist. May God strengthen us in these days, and may we move forward in holiness first. If we put holiness first, all the other things that our culture says we “need” for a “real holiday” will fall into their proper places behind our hunger for Jesus Christ.

Lessons from the Christmas Manger – The Faith Explained with Cale Clarke


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