Advent is about Preparing for Jesus

12-10-2017From Our PastorFr. Brian Jazdzewski

From the Preschool

While eating lunch at Saint Boniface Catholic School this week, I was asked by a preschool boy about the meaning of Advent. I told him it's about Jesus and Jesus' coming to us. He reminded me that Jesus is already with us, I had to agree. I also reminded him Advent is about us preparing for Jesus to come deeper into our lives. At that point his sandwich became more interesting than our conversation about religion. Hmmm? Do the things of our world typically become more important than our religion? During Advent we are reminded to place more value on the Lord and prepare for His arrival. A lot to think and pray about in that brief exchange with a preschooler.

Some of my content came from my experience as a Catholic and a priest. Advent causes me to continue to reflect upon how prepared I am for Jesus coming. Recently, I refreshed my awareness of Advent by paging through and reading Catholic Life. Ann Lankford, Director of the Office for Catechesis and Evangelization for the Diocese of La Crosse writes a summary article regarding the focus on each week of Advent; it's a good read. Within her article we read:

It is interesting to note that the word Advent means "comings," and it actually has a threefold character: 1. As a season that directs the mind and heart to await Christ's Second Coming at the end of time; 2. As a season to prepare us for Christmas-Christ's first coming to us; 3. As a season in which we seek a deeper awareness of Jesus' coming to us, present in each moment of every day-as indeed, He is Emmanuel, "God with us"…He comes to us most especially in the holy Eucharist.

With our celebration of Mass this weekend, we will be nearly half-way through the season of Advent. Another reality is that the Fourth Week of Advent will only be several hours long since Christmas lands on a Monday. So we have the distinct advantage of being really efficient and intentional with our time of preparation for Christ's coming. Within all of the many distractions during these days of December, we continue to live with the reality that God is Emmanuel… God with us!

At the core of a preschool age question, and at the core of the most seasoned Catholic, we know that we are working to respond with our minds and hearts to Jesus. Our Lord, who has called us from Baptism, desires for us to have an ever-deepening relationship with Himself. While we journey through life, the process of deepening awareness and growth is called conversion. The sense of conversion we are discussing here has to do with our minds and hearts. These aspects of our lives are constantly undergoing some sense of change. Within these days of Advent we pray for ourselves and for one another. Our hope is that our conversions inspire a stronger sense of evangelization; we want to tell the story of what Jesus has done for us. Distancing ourselves from the world and its distractions, we pray for one another that continue to live with the awareness that God is with us…always!

Familiar Priest Update

Some of you remember Rev. Richard C. Dickman who served Catholics in our area some years ago. An announcement was recently made about him that he has been granted Senior Priest status effective 1 December 2017. His new status basically means that he is "retired" from full-time active ministry; he continues to maintain all permission to perform all priestly duties. Please pray for Father Dickman and all the Senior priests who have so faithfully served the people of our diocese.