Sunday, December 4, 2011

Making Paths Straight

"A voice of one crying out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.’”
John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Mk 1:3-4)
There is a lot going on during advent.
There is the busy stuff as we prepare for Christmas. The gift buying, the decorating, the wrapping, the hustle and the bustle.
But there is the spiritual stuff too. At least we hope there is. We Christians try to keep Christ in Christmas the best we can.
There is the Advent Giving tree so we can give to those less fortunate.
There are the prayer services and the advent wreath and the daily reflections and Masses and other devotions. One Catholic church near me is doing a Taize service which I am interested in attending.
What we often forget is that advent is also a time of penance. Our parish has a penance service, which I always try to attend. It is a joyful celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
This year, as in past years, I will struggle to do less busy things and do more preparing for the Lord. More making paths straight. More repenting.
I never totally succeed. But maybe the success is in the trying. The struggles. Maybe each year I succeed just a little more in letting go of the busy-ness of advent. And holding onto what makes this season so important. 
Jesus.
Dear Lord, help me to stop all the busy running around and sit with you. Help me to prepare for your coming into my heart, into my world. I am sorry for the times I get too busy to notice you. Help me stay on a straight path to you. Amen.
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25 comments :

Karinann said...

I love the simplicity of your reflection and prayer, Colleen. It is that same simplicity with which we need to observe this season. Every year Advent seems to come and go by more quickly.
I will join you in your prayer.
Hugs & Advent Blessings!

Michael said...

I've been thinking a lot about this too. Thanks for the inspiration and the prayer.

God Bless.

Colleen said...

Thank you, Karinann. I agree advent comes and goes so quickly. And I agree it is good to keep it simple. Hugs and advent blessings to you too!

Michael, you are welcome! Thanks for your comment. Happy advent to you.

Connie Arnold said...

Thank you for sharing the inspiring thoughts, Colleen. We may not succeed, but in trying and keeping our focus on Jesus, it is well worth the effort. Wishing you a blessed Advent!

Colleen said...

Connie, thank you. I agree! God bless!

mary333 said...

I never totally succeed either, Colleen, so I hope you're right about the success being in the trying - I like to think that God likes the efforts we make for Him :)

Colleen said...

Mary, look at this way - if we keep trying, then our mind and heart are on Jesus. The time for us to worry is when we do not try or do not care. Yes,I believe He loves our "little" efforts. Like a parent loves his/her child's efforts. Hugs!

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I love that verse -- and I really love your new banner. I wish you a blessed Advent!

Colleen said...

Elizabeth, thank you for your comment! Glad you like the banner. Advent blessings!

noreen said...

Hi Colleen, that is beautiful! I struggle with the same issue of staying Christ focused and not Christmas focused. It's such a busy time of the year, as you've said, and we all need to recognize it and not get caught up in it! I'm talking to myself here!! Have a Blessed Advent Season!

Colleen said...

Noreen, it is a struggle for sure but at least we are in the struggle! Advent blessings to you!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

And yet another wonderful post. Thank you.

God bless.

Colleen said...

Thank you so much Victor! God bless you, too!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Thank you so much Colleen for sharing the story from my Blog on your Facebook Website. It's very kind of you and I really appreciate it.

God bless.

Michelle @ Liturgical Time said...

Thank you for this. Lovely post.

Colleen said...

Thank you, Michelle.

Colleen said...

You are most welcome, Victor!

RAnn said...

With everything else that is happening this time of year it is hard to focus on the reason for the season

Colleen said...

RAnn, you are so right! Very hard. But like I wrote, I think there is success in the trying. especially because it is so hard.

ellengable said...

Beautiful post, Colleen...and so indicative of how hard we try to prepare with all the distractions of Christmas preparations. Love your Advent banner...our Advent wreath is how we keep focused as a family. Even though the kids are older, they remind us to light the wreath and pray! God bless...

Colleen said...

Ellen, thank you! The wreath was always a focus for us, too, when my boys were home. God bless!

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Thanks for the beautiful prayer. The big question for all of us is, are we going to let the world drive us in this season, or are we going to allow God to move us? Recollection is difficult to achieve when the marketers are clamoring for our attention in print and media. You're right that we shouldn't give up trying. I've been thinking a lot lately about making more room in my heart for Jesus.

Colleen said...

Barb, great question that you ask - who are we going to let drive us? God bless!

Joann / Into Stillness said...

"Dear Lord, help me to stop all the busy running around and sit with you."
Colleen, about a month ago one of our priests made the gist of his homily a plea for parishioners not to rush out of the church after Communion and a further push for all to linger in thanksgiving at the close of the Mass, saying, we wonder why we don't seem to change even after years and years of daily Eucharist. I'm trying and it's fast becoming a precious time.

Colleen said...

Joann, that is awesome! What a blessing that is for you. Your priest had a great idea.
I usually pray in the chapel after Mass because my husband is the deacon and I have to wait for him. It has turned into a wonderful habit. God bless!