Monday of the Second Week of Advent

December 5, 2016 / By: Sarah Farnes

Advent is upon us. (Is 35:1-10, Lk 5:17-26)

As I was sitting on the Aventine Hill in Rome a week or so ago watching groups of religious pass by along the street below me, I was reminded of a story.

A young priest was asked to plan the procession for Corpus Christi. Since joining seminary, this young priest was looking forward to the opportunity to have such an integral role in the preparation for a major feast day.  He planned everything, the vestments, the music, the decorations, where the procession would stop, how to stand…  He even designed formal invitations to send to the members of the parish. 

The day came, the bishop arrived, and the priests from the diocese were present.  The pews were full and the choir was singing in perfect harmony.  The procession started and the incense filled the church.  The young priest was satisfied.  Everything was organized and went exactly as planned.

At the end of the procession the young priest entered the sacristy beaming from the success of the event.  The bishop looked at him and smiled.  He said, “Congratulations on a successful event. Everything was perfect; except, you forgot the Holy Host!”  The young priest was shocked and humbled.   In all of his preparations, he forgot what was central to the event.

As I look down the road and see the Christmas decorations adorning the streets, I wonder how many of us are busy preparing all of the details of our Christmas celebrations, but are forgetting the central element to the holiday?  It is beautiful to decorate but are we preparing ourselves to receive the newborn Christ into our hearts and our lives?

May we all take a moment during our busy preparations to reflect on the season of Advent.  We are in a period of anticipations.  We are called to wait patiently for Emmanuel.  In all of our preparations, let us not forget Christ, the reason for the season.    

Sarah Farnes, Program Manager, Office for Spirituality