First Sunday of Advent (November 27, 2016)

Today, the first Sunday of Advent, the readings urge us to walk in the light of the Lord. This calls us to respond to God’s love with a change of heart. St. Francis de Sales notes:

With a heart unsurpassed, Mary gave her mind, heart and soul to God without reserve. More perfectly than any other creature, her will was conformed to God’s Will. If there is change in Mary, it is only that of further growth in virtue to render invariable her resolution of belonging wholly to God. However, because of the continual vicissitudes of life and our readiness to constantly change our affections toward others, we must frequently renew the promises we made to embrace and live God’s word.

How do we continually affirm that we belong to God alone? If we really take care of our heart, every morning and evening, we will consecrate our mind, heart and body to God’s love and service. First thing in the morning, prepare your heart to be at peace. Then take great care throughout the day to frequently call back your heart to that peace. Happy are they who walk in the way of God’s love. Their hearts are changed!

But you will ask me, how can I now give God my heart since it is still so full of imperfections? How could it be pleasing to God, since I have so infrequently conformed myself to God’s will? Are you not aware that God converts everything to good? God did not say, “Give me a pure heart like the angels or Mary,” but rather, “Give Me your heart.” So give God your heart such as it is for God desires only what you are.

Let us pursue the love that God desires to give us. Just as stags pursued by the hunter redouble their speed so that they seem to fly, likewise we must run our course in pursuing what God desires for us. Let us not only run but ask God to give us wings of a dove not only to fly upward in this life but also to find rest in eternity.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)