The Spirit of Advent in our Adventure

Only recently I realized that the word “adventure” had the word “advent” in it. St. John Paul II said “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure”. Our path to Christ truly is an adventure, as our lives on earth are a preparation for heaven, dwelling forever with Christ. This season is a preparation for the Coming of Christ, our King!

Christian life is an adventurous, romantic, and beautiful novel that is written into our lives by God. In each one of our lives we defeat monsters, we move against the tide of the world, we fight for the good and the truth no matter the cost, while we aim for love that is found in Christ. The roads we travel are long, and they are filled with many tears and many joys. Although we are all moving towards the same ending, which is actually our true “beginning”, our journeys are each extremely different and individual.

One of the most important parts of a rich inner life in Christ is the soul’s preparation for Christ. Before we receive Christ in the Eucharist we prepare our souls by coming into communion with the Church, if needed, through the Sacrament of Confession, we fast an hour before Mass, and we participate in the Holy Mass in union with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Along our path to Christ we have many distractions, the worst of them being the world and its pleasures. We stop along the way, occasionally wandering off to follow those seemingly sweet smells and sounds. Like a siren these pleasures attempt to pull us to our spiritual death. But while our hearts cannot rest in them, our souls hunger for the truth of Christ and are restless until we have found it. Most easily we find our way back to the true path, because the face of Christ is as clear to us as the sun overhead in the sky. Our beacon that leads the way when we find ourselves in darkness, Christ is still there, even if His radiance is now shown by reflection off our Blessed Mother, like the moon whose light is truly the light of the sun. The saints, like stars in the sky, remind us of our heavenly home, especially in the darkest moments of our life; in the sorrows and sufferings as we carry our cross.

Advent and Lent are our opportunities to return to the path towards Christ, to again turn away from the world, and to exercise our conscience and will so that when we see the distractions, we know them for what they truly are. We will also know that they are not the everlasting love and joy that we hope for. Some of us have strayed quite far from our path, and now during Advent we see the light of the Nativity of Christ up ahead. We wander through the field of flowers that we have found ourselves in, and head towards the rocky, stony path that leads to Christ.

“I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings” (Diary 153). – St. Faustina Kowalska, “Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul”

When Christmas arrives, we experience the Joy of the Nativity of Christ our King, and we remember truly what the Joy in our life is: To live within the love of God forever and ever. Until then, know that this time is a time of spiritual exercise of the will, and do it all with a grateful and joyful heart, a heart full of love. Any act done without love is not worth anything, but any fasting, prayer, no matter how simple, is a very grand gift to Christ the King when it is done in great love. Carry these gifts with you on your path to adore Christ, as the Magi did.

Think of the radiance of our sweet infant Christ the King along your path this advent. Let the light of Christ lead you back towards Him again. God is gracious and loving, He has given us not one but two opportunities every liturgical year to turn our hearts again to Him. Do not be afraid to take up your crosses because you fear you may trip along the way. Keep the spirit of Advent, the returning to Christ and our preparation for the coming of Christ, as part of your adventure in Him!

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