The new year in the Church begins with the season of Advent. Advent is a time of anticipation in which we eagerly await the coming of our Lord. During this season we are invited to prayerfully prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus.
It is a time of hope, excitement, reflection, and preparation.
During a period of the year filled with planning, cleaning, decorating, shopping, and entertaining, it can be easy to overlook the most important reason for the season. Honestly, sometimes I become so preoccupied with outside distractions and preparations, that I neglect to make ready my heart and soul.
In her wisdom, the Church gives us the gift of Advent to prepare our hearts for the most important guest: Jesus. I, for one, desperately need this reminder. The reminder to open my heart and prepare a place for the newborn King, so that when he asks me if there is room at the inn, the inn of my heart, I can promptly reply, “YES!”
St. Ambrose states, “Open wide your door to the one who comes. Open your soul, throw open the depths of your heart to see the riches of simplicity, the treasures of peace, the sweetness of grace. Open your heart and run to meet the Sun of eternal light that illuminates all men.”
While beautifully stated, I often find myself cowering in fear at what the Lord might find if I open wide my heart.
In those moments I am reminded that perfect love casts out all fear and that the love of Christ is the most authentic and purifying love that I can receive. I need to allow Him to enter into my heart to purify all that is disordered and unclean. This will require an act of surrender and humility on my part. I must invite the Lord into my darkness to shine the light of his love.
So this Advent, while we are making preparations to host the holiday events, why not challenge ourselves to also make the necessary preparations to prepare our hearts for the Savior? The goal of this challenge is that when he arrives, he will find a soul swept clean and put in order, a soul ready and willing to receive Him and all that he has to give us.
This Advent go and receive the healing power and graces from the sacrament of confession.
Sit before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration and ask Jesus to show you where the cobwebs are in your heart. Give him your woundedness, your worries, your fears, your anxieties, your sin, and let him exchange them for His peace, hope, joy, mercy, and love. Receive the Eucharist whenever possible. It is the food of our souls. Participate in acts of charity serving all those who the Lord places in your path, for we know that He is in everyone.
When Jesus comes to you this Christmas, may he find a warm, welcoming, ordered, and swept clean heart, ready to receive all that He has to give. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!