Advent: Time for Renewal

As we approach the season of Advent we want to share a reflection we received from Father Gene Hemrick. Fr.  Gene is founder of the National Institure for the Renewal of the Priesthood – www.jknirp.com . He received NFPC’s Touchstone award in 2009.

There’s no better time than Advent for putting our house in order.

The house of which we speak is our disposition that is being bombarded by a topsy-turvy world threatening the beauty of the season.

Years ago, the Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World identified the threats to society and the common good: “Feelings of hostility, contempt and distrust, as well as racial hatred and unbending ideologies, continue to divide men.”

Today, violence, character assassination, dishonesty, animosity and combative ideologies are strangling our ability to live a kind and well-disposed existence.

Advent is a sacred time to celebrate Christ becoming incarnate and living among us — a time to increase our efforts to live his love within ourselves and with those among us.

Recently, a friend threw out his back and cried it had stopped him from going on with business as usual. Many people among us are in the same situation lacking a healthy life due to physical or mental handicaps.

Advent is a time to befriend the destitute through our caring. As Christ befriended us, we reach out to others. We seldom think of its power, but when care is heartfelt, it contains the potential for creating a calming peace in those whose life is seriously disrupted.

No doubt many of us know people who are perpetually glum. Advent is a time to flash a cheerful smile in hopes of uplifting their hearts with a sunny moment.

These days, our air is filled with negativity. In Advent, we direct our conversations away from the negativity to the optimistic side of life, in gratitude for the many God-given gifts we enjoy.

I often listen to a news station that ends on a heartwarming note. Unfortunately, most news and many of our movies are about vicious violence. Advent stops us and allows us to focus on wholesome events of the day. It is especially a time to read the Gospels with an eye on Christ’s heartwarming humanness as he walked among us.

Truth applies to our most important relationships: friendship, collaboration, love, marriage, the family. Advent is a time to counter an atmosphere of untruthfulness by “telling it as it is” and thereby increasing our loyalty to truthfulness.

The above examples are but a few of how to celebrate Advent through the cultivation of the disposition of kindness within ourselves, our homes and those among us