From the desk of Fr Stephen Dec 6, 2020

From the desk of Fr Stephen

When I lived at our Redemptorist retreat house in Wisconsin, I lived in the country.  It was about 25 miles from Milwaukee, in the country far away from the city lights - the moon and the stars were bright in the sky at night.  There would be times when the moon was so full that you could walk safely and see just where you were going.  It was amazing!  The next morning the moon would still be out as the sun began to rise.  You could tell as the sun got brighter; the moon got dimmer.  It took place right before your eyes.  As bright as the moon was the night before, the moon was just a reflection of the light of the sun.  Maybe we can’t appreciate the difference until we see it up close and first-hand.

John the Baptist is like that moon in the sky.  He was a bright light, but he himself knew he was not the source of the light.  He had come to “Prepare the Way”.  He had come into a world of sin and darkness and the people were moved.  They came out to see him thinking he might be the Messiah, but his answer was “one mightier than I is coming; one whose sandals I am not fit to untie.”  As bright as John might have been, when Jesus comes upon the scene, John is like the moon next to the sun.  John, a reflection of the Lord, the Son of God, was not the source of the light itself.  Jesus is the infinitely brighter light in the dark sky.

Fr. Doug Fater, a priest who lives in San Antonio and is a former Redemptorist, writes this month in the Liguorian magazine about four actions we can take in Advent to prepare the Way of the Lord in our hearts.  These are some very practical suggestions I pass along to you for purifying ourselves for the Babe’s coming.

  • Take time to repair and restore peace in a broken relationship. (Matt 11:28-30)
  • Act with empathy. Look for opportunities to support family and friends. (Phil 4:4-7)
  • Access your inner self--examine your faults and failings. Reflect on feelings of anger, bitterness and jealousy. Ask Our Lord to put these things aside. (Phil 2:5-11).
  • Strive to maintain an attitude of gratitude, thanking God for His blessings both big and small. (Isa 55:6-11).

Hopefully, we can try to fit some of these things into our lives. These are ways we can truly open our hearts and minds to Jesus, especially now as so many are hurting.  God’s blessings on you.