Advent, First Sunday. Last week was the ultimate spoiler as we told you how the story of the Universe ends with the Kingship of Christ. Advent is a season of joyful expectation as we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. We should imagine ourselves like a wife prepared and eagerly awaiting her husband's return from a trip.Will I be part of that happy ending? How can we be prepared? Our readings provide us some clues.

The reading from Isaiah says that God must be above all else in our lives. He must be more important than our family, our friends, our career, our possessions, even our spouse and children. When we put God first, we stop competing with everyone else. The result is peace with our neighbors.

Our reading from Romans gives us three specific ways to put God first:

  • Don't seek the pleasure of this world (orgies and drunkenness).
  • Don't use others as a source of pleasure (promiscuity and lust).
  • Don't compete with others for power and honor (rivalries and jealousy).
If we are serious about putting God first, we must start at the first moment of each day. St. Josemaria Escriva called this "the heroic moment." It is the first moment of decision to live for yourself or to live for God. A traditional Catholic practice is the Morning Offering. I strongly encourage you to begin the practice of a Morning Offering, either with this prayer or one of your own. Wake up and start living for God, because life is too short to live for yourself.

(1 Dec 2013)

Want to go deeper?

  • Take up the habit of a morning offering. Here's one I recommend:

O Jesus, in union with Your Most Precious Blood poured out on the Cross and offered in every Mass, I offer You today my prayers, works, joys, sorrows and sufferings for the praise of Your Holy Name and all the desires of Your Sacred Heart, for the conversion of sinners, the union of all Christians and our final union with you in heaven.

  • Read Pope Francis' new document on evangelization, Evangelii Gaudium. Just reading a few paragraphs a day will change the way you think about being Catholic. (I was reading it a few days ago with no problem, but today only the PDF link on the upper right corner worked. Hopefully you will not have problems accessing it.)