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Father Muench Says...

Making Advent our retreat

December 8, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Advent is a time of retreat. At the beginning of each new liturgical year, our Catholic Church gives us an unique opportunity for four weeks of retreat as a preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus – Christmas. This is really meant to be a time of retreat. The Church asks us to take some time each day of the season of Advent for prayer to bring ourselves closer to the Lord and to make us more loving in our relationships with the Lord. This will be our way to become alive in the spirit and alive in love, a love like the Lord Jesus brought to this world through His Incarnation.

This Advent retreat is a challenge for each of us to become more prayerful. This demands that we take a few minutes of silence for prayer with the Lord. It’s not always easy allowing ourselves to find a time of silence each day. Such a time of prayer should begin with a few minutes to calm ourselves down from the day’s activities. We must find some quiet from the noise of the day. You and I live in a rather busy, noisy world. Our Advent retreat demands a moment to calm down so we can truly give ourselves to a time of prayer.

This Advent prayer is accomplished best when we find a special place for prayer. At first, I would suggest your parish church. It is always an excellent place for a private prayer. You can take a few minutes to visit your church during the quiet of the day. However, you may also have a special space at home for silence and prayer. This place should be where you can truly calm down for a time to give you the space for prayer.

This Advent retreat is a perfect opportunity for you to welcome Jesus more completely into your life. This is the moment when you can allow Jesus to bring his love and enthusiasm into your life. The presence of the Lord guides us to a new and more complete relationship with our God that will transform each of us into real disciples of the Lord.

God knows us and helps us to know ourselves. This is one of the goals of our Advent retreat. Truly our Christmas gift to ourselves is the Lord teaching us and showing us who we are and all we can accomplish as Christians. Our discovery of God is, in a way, God’s discovery of us. As we allow our Lord to become more alive in our lives, we will discover more opportunities to give of ourselves to help so many others in our part of the world. As we reach out to others, we will make our own lives more alive with the Lord and truly embody Christmas spirit.

To make our Advent retreat all that it should be, I encourage you to dedicate your time of prayer to a special intention. I am certain that you can think of many who have meant so much to you, many you want to pray for – those special people who have made your life all that it is.

I also encourage you to include in these dedications those who have gone on before you and are now with the Lord. In a sense, these intentions are the important Christmas cards that you want to be an important part of your Christmas.

Finally, this Advent retreat is an opportunity for you to offer a prayer of gratitude to your Lord and Savior. The Lord has blessed us and continues to bless us each and every day. Our prayer of gratitude as reflected in our Advent retreat prepares us properly for the celebration of Christmas.

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