Once again your planet’s annual zoom around your yellow star has brought the Holy Church to a new liturgical year of grace. During Advent we continue to reflect on themes which at the end of the last year featured in Holy Mass and in the Office, namely, the Lord’s Second Coming and the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.

Just as devout Christians have done for centuries before pleasant feasts, we too must do some penance, pray and put our lives in order. We look forward to the Christmas celebration of Christ’s First Coming through the lens of our preparation to meet him either in His Second Coming or at the end of our earthly lives. Remember that in our personal meeting with the Just Judge, we will receive His justice whether we want it or not, but in this life His loving mercy is ours for the asking.

Speaking of prayers, during this season of Advent we have several guides to help us meet with Christ: the Prophet Isaiah, the forerunner John the Baptist and, of course, the beautiful daughter of her Son, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. All three of these figures teach us how better to pray during Advent.

In Isaiah 64, for example, we taste of the prophet’s longing: “That thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down: the mountains would melt away at thy presence.” The Baptist, called by Our Lord the greatest man ever born of woman (Mt 11:11), quoting Isaiah, urges us diligently to make the path by which the Lord will come both straight and smooth. Let’s do our straightening now rather than get straightened later.

Concerning Mary and her lessons for prayer, consider what Fulton Sheen wrote in Seven Words of Jesus and Mary:

If you have never before prayed [with] Mary, do so now. Can you not see that if Christ himself willed to be physically formed in her for nine months and then spiritually formed by her for 30 years, it is to her that we must go to learn how to have Christ formed in us?

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