Her Doctrine and Morals

First Sunday in Advent

3 December 2017


The Sunday


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The Sunday Sermon Archive

Dear Friends,

Today we begin the annual preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. In the shortest and darkest days of the year, our hope swells again as the branches of the trees — longing for the warmth of God's love symbolized in the coming warmth of spring. We know the signs of this earth and the cycles of the seasons. We know when to till the earth, when to plant, when to harvest, when to store up for the coming days of scarcity. (At least most used to know these things.) These signs are observable to everyone and they tell us what to prepare for, what to expect in the coming days.

Jesus often used the things of this earth to instruct us in spiritual matters. If we can read the signs and seasons of this earth, then we need to also read the signs and seasons of our spiritual lives. Just as the farmer uses his time wisely in the winter to prepare for the coming spring, so our souls must use these days of spiritual coldness or darkness to prepare our souls for the coming of Jesus Christ.

We feel the physical coldness and see the physical darkness that comes in the winter and we prepare our gardens and homes so that we may survive until longer and warmer days return. This season of Advent, we are to observe the state of our souls. We are to look upon the coldness and darkness of the sins that will kill us if we fail to take the necessary precautions. If we die in the winter, we will not enjoy the coming spring. If our souls die in this life, we will not enjoy the new life that is coming afterward. We are compelled to do whatever is necessary to preserve and shelter our souls through these days so that we may receive the joy of the days to come.

All that is dead or diseased in our souls is to be cut away. If we do not nip death and decay in the bud it will surely spread throughout and kill us. The diseased branches of trees are removed; the gangrenous limbs of our bodies are amputated; so the disease of sin must be excised from our souls. God and our holy mother the Church have given us the season of Advent to do just that. Advent is a time of penance and mortification. We are to examine our consciences and repent of all our sins. We are to purge and clean our souls so that the hidden life of God within us may grow strong and blossom with goodness.

These four weeks symbolize the time from man's sin to the coming of Jesus Christ. Mankind longed for the coming of the Savior. It was a time of preparation and penance. So Advent must be the same with us. We are to cultivate and nourish a longing in our hearts for Jesus Christ. We are to cleanse our souls to prepare a receptive soil for the Seed of Life to be planted and take root and grow within us. We must clear away all that is harmful or dangerous to our spiritual lives, just as a farmer must clear his field of rocks, stumps, and debris. Then we must soften our souls with penance, developing a soul where true Charity may easily be planted and grow without any competition — just as a farmer plows his field to soften the earth to receive the seeds that will be planted there and to remove any other plants that may compete with the seeds that are to be planted.

The days are growing shorter and the nights are growing longer. We are given more time to think and pray; more time to rest and prepare. This season of Advent is the ideal time to begin or return to a spiritual book that will aid us in accomplishing our purpose of being. We have been created (we exist) for the sole purpose of knowing, loving and serving God so that we may be happy with Him in Heaven. Let us challenge ourselves to turn off the useless or even harmful distractions (entertainments) of the world so that we may spend more time cultivating our hearts and souls. We can read and study to learn what we should do. We can sacrifice or purge useless or harmful things from our lives. We can spend more time in offering spiritual aid to one another. Visit one another to pray together, to sing together things that will encourage us and lift up our hearts to God. When we band together and help each other out the work becomes much easier — it even becomes a true joy.

Farmers and their neighbors often come together to help each other when there are difficult times. The abundance of material things or of talent in one fills up the void in the other. There is a reciprocity among them which enables all to live and succeed. In the spiritual life, we must recognize and develop this same idea. Those who are given knowledge let them share with those who do not have this; those who are given understanding, let them share with those who are lacking; those who have wisdom let them give to those without; Etc. Most of all we are to share the three theological virtues with one another: Faith, Hope, and Charity. Our sacrifices and self-denial supply us with an abundance of something — let us share or give as freely as we have received. In this way, we will truly prepare our hearts and souls to receive Jesus Christ on Christmas Day.

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