7 Ways to Prepare for the Christ Child This Advent

Have a Blessed Advent, and enjoy this precious time to clean out the stables of our hearts.

Louis Cretey (1635-1702), “The Nativity”
Louis Cretey (1635-1702), “The Nativity” (photo: Public Domain)

How do we make our stable empty in preparation for the arrival of the Christ child in our hearts?

1) Recognize we are lost sheep, and that Christ comes to find us. Let us pray that we remain humble enough to call out to the Good Shepherd and follow him.

2) Know that with all we know, we are still dumb oxen, who brutishly sometimes respond only with our emotions, or who rely on comfort as a form of security. Let us pray to be gently yoked by our Lord, that we may cooperate with Christ and help pull others along the way to holiness.

3) In our sins, we are no more than asses. Even if we bray, buck, bite and stomp, we may still somehow be given the grace to carry Christ to others. Let us pray that we will allow the Holy Spirit to bridle our tongues, that we may be kind. Harness our wills that we may follow only his. Lead us that we may, however haltingly, find ourselves before Christ the King.

4) Prepare and offer your straw. Saint Thomas Aquinas said, “Everything I have written seems to me so much straw.” A Doctor of the Church can know that all he’s written cannot compare with the Subject about which he’s written — and yet he still offers it. We can do no less. 

5) Invite the Holy Family to rest in your home. Invite them to bless your family and to have a place of reverence at your table. They will bring the gifts of graces far more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh. They will leaven the joy in your hearts, mend the relationships that are torn by sin, and inspire deeper acts of love to others.

6) Invite others in, or bring others into your family via prayer, via acts of service, and gifts of hospitality and fellowship. These are the shepherds, the kings and the angels, who are all privileged to be present on that first day. Receive them as Mary and Joseph, welcoming them into your hearts and home, even when you’re busy. Even when you have every reason to shut the door, even when you have nothing prepared. A warm, willing heart makes every meal a feast, and every home a palace.

7) Be the star that leads others to the true reason for this whole season. Be the star that reminds all of us why we wait, and for whom we wait, these short four weeks.

Have a Blessed Advent, and enjoy this precious time to clean out the stables of our hearts.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

Bishop Burbidge: The Pandemic is Our ‘Pentecost Moment’

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