From the Second Reading from today’s Mass for the First Sunday of Advent:
Brothers and sisters:You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
Today the Church begins a new liturgical year with the start of Advent. Why is this particularly useful for us sober alcoholics? Because Advent is the time during which we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus. Advent means that Christmas (or Jesus’s Birth) is near. If you had been attending Mass or studying the Sunday and Daily Mass Readings during November you would have noticed that the Church was focusing on death and the end of the world (or the Second Coming of Jesus). Fitting, as November is dedicated to the blessed dead. The Church was reminding us of our own mortality and also that of the world’s. Immediately following that month, we are happily reminded of Jesus’ First Coming, His birth as a mortal human. So for two months or thereabouts, the Church is trying to get us to prepare for the arrival of Jesus in our lives. Why?
From today’s Gospel Jesus says:
Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
Are we prepared in our internal spiritual lives and in our external moral lives? Are we ready for Him to come? When He arrives, either in our commemoration of His Birth or sometime in the future when the world ends, would He find in us people of strong moral character, of strong faith in Him and in His Church? Or will He find us caught up in the distractions of the world, in our own selfishness and sinful ways? Will He find us as Christians, true followers of Him?
Start preparing for the arrival of Jesus. Advent has a penitential character like Lent, although not a sorrowful style as we are awaiting His birth, a joyous event. God deigned to become one like us (in all ways but sin), and as a humble, innocent little baby. He didn’t have to. The least we can do is examine and inspect our lives and humble ourselve to admit our imperfections and sinfulness and struggle to overcome them. We amend our lives. We repent and confess our sins and struggle to not repeat them.
Start using this Advent and work on those areas of your life that need improving. No one should be content with the state of their moral and spiritual lives. We can all maintain and improve our spiritual progress.
Keep your eyes on the prize: Jesus is coming! Are you ready?Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"