So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent(ure)

Why not take on a new direction this Advent? Why not jump in that rubber raft and paddle a different, wilder river? Get off that couch and go for a walk and smile at and say 'hello' to a few people.

Feeling exhausted, like you cannot take on one more thing? Too inhibited by fear or anxiety or shyness to risk a little insignificant failure whilst in the pursuit of meaning?

Remember, Mary, with child, journeyed with Joseph some 120 kilometres from Narareth to Jerusalem and another 10 kilometres or so from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, no stroll in the park, to give birth in a stable. A wife would be right to remind her husband to stop complaining when asked to take out the trash. And, dear brother in Christ, give your wife a little extra attention like Saint Joseph surely gave the pregnant Mary during what was probably a minimum four day journey on foot.

People always find the energy, when motivated by one form of pleasure or another, to go "one mile" farther: a favourite rock band is coming to town and, despite low funds, the avid fan digs into that rainy day fund to buy a ticket or two; the indulgence of an irresistible dessert after a filling meal; purchasing an irresistible travel package to a favoured vacation destination; purchasing that highly prized gadget made slightly more affordable on Black Friday or Cyber Monday; waiting hours at an airport for a dear friend whose flight has been delayed. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Here's an advent(ure): turn off your cell phone or other device. Buy some silence by investing in a reduction of needless activity. Spend more quality time with the kids. Spend additional time with friends; host a potluck dinner. Aim to be less distracted by getting to bed earlier for some much needed rest. If you're feeling detached or out of sorts, volunteer at a soup kitchen and get in touch with reality. And, even if you're not motivated by the avoidance or correction of what you understand to be burdens, do the same kinds of things mentioned above for the better reason of fostering communion between people and God. Be an intercessor. Ask God for the grace to be a better instrument of His divine will.

Stop contributing to the chaos and confusion. Make healthy silence. Be still. Sneak in the reading of a little Scripture every day. Pray. Learn from Saint Joseph.

Pope Benedict XVI exhorted the faithful to cultivate a spirit of interior recollection after the example of St. Joseph. The Holy Father delivered this address on December 18, 2005 before reciting the Angelus.
[ZENIT, December 18, 2005]
Dear brothers and sisters!
In these days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to contemplate in a special way the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, who lived with a unique intensity the time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Today I want to direct our gaze toward the figure of St. Joseph. In today's Gospel, St. Luke presents the Virgin Mary as "betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David," (Luke 1:27). Yet, the one who gives the most importance to the adoptive father of Jesus is the Evangelist Matthew, emphasizing that, thanks to him, the Child was legally introduced into the lineage of David, fulfilling the Scriptures, in which the Messiah was prophesized as the "son of David."
But the role of Joseph could not be reduced to this legal aspect. He is the model of a "righteous" man (Matthew 1:19), who in perfect harmony with his spouse welcomes the Son of God made man and watches over his human growth. Hence, in these days the precede Christmas, it is particularly fitting to establish a kind of spiritual dialogue with St. Joseph so that he helps us live to the fullest this mystery of faith.
The beloved Pope John Paul II, who was very devoted to St. Joseph, left us an admirable meditation dedicated to him in the apostolic exhortation "Redemptoris Custos" (Custodian of the Redeemer). Among the many aspects that he emphasized, he dedicates a particular importance to the silence of St. Joseph. His silence is permeated with the contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to the divine will.
In other words, the silence of St. Joseph does not demonstrate an empty interior, but rather the fullness of faith that he carries in his heart, and that guides each of his thoughts and actions. A silence through which Joseph, together with Mary, guard the Word of God, known through sacred Scripture, comparing it continually to the events of the life of Jesus; a silence interwoven with constant prayer, a prayer of blessing of the Lord, of adoration of his holy will and of boundless confidence in his providence. It is not exaggerated to say that Jesus will learn — on a human level — precisely from "father" Joseph this intense interior life, which is the condition of authentic righteousness, the "interior righteousness," which one day he will teach to his disciples (cf. Matthew 5:20).
Let's allow ourselves to be "infected" by the silence of St. Joseph! It is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God. In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives.
[Translation of the original Italian by ZENIT]

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