Advent Online

Starting November 27, 2022

We hope these daily reflections and prayers throughout Advent and for Christmas Day will bring you great calmness and peace as we prepare for the celebration of God’s Word made flesh continuously in our midst. As we walk these days together, may the spirit of St. Francis bring us and our world to a greater peace and our lives closer to God.

THURSDAY

DEC

25

Today’s Advent Reflection

With great clamor and joy, Christmas breaks out.  We join the angels’ songs of praise and wonder anew at the Word Made Flesh.  We place the last figures in the nativity scene: the child and, of course, angels and shepherds.  And we place ourselves at the scene and, perhaps, memories of our younger selves with those who celebrate the feast in heaven.  In the first reading for the Christmas vigil, the prophet Isaiah tells us that when the messiah comes, God will say to the people, “…you shall be called “My Delight,”and your land “Espoused.” For the LORD delights in you and makes your land his spouse.”  May we and our whole world celebrate God’s love in peace, goodness and joy. 

WEDNESDAY

DEC

24

Today’s Advent Reflection

In the last Mass of Advent, the first reading tells of King David’s realization that his palace of cedar is far more splendid than the tent that housed the Ark of the Covenant, the commandments which signified God’s presence.  David plans to remedy the situation, but God intervenes, promising to establish a house, a peaceful and lasting kingdom for David’s descendants.  This, of course, happens in Bethlehem, the town whose name means house of bread.  Our God who became so small, who remains so intimate with us, once again invites us to come and see, come and be with one another as we are, God’s beloved. 

FRIDAY

DEC

23

Today’s Advent Reflection

Once Zechariah confirms that his son is to be called John, as the angel directed, Zechariah’s speech is restored and he praises God.  The names we call each other say much about our relationships.  When you pray to Jesus, what name do you use?  Lord, Jesus, Messiah, Brother, Teacher or some other name?  Perhaps titles change depending on the day’s events.  What name does Jesus use when he speaks to you?  Does that name change?  As we prepare to remember that Bethlehem miracle, give thanks for the many ways Jesus enters our lives. 

THURSDAY

DEC

22

Today’s Advent Reflection

As another Advent nears closing, we praise God fidelity in the words of Mary’s Magnificat:

“God has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.”  As we celebrate God’s love, pray for those preparing for Baptism, as they respond to Jesus’ invitation to full life in our faith community and pray for their instructors and sponsors.

 

WEDNESDAY

DEC

21

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s gospel Mary visits her elderly cousin Elizabeth. Awed by the mystery of their pregnancies, the women greet each other, acknowledging their joy at God’s mysterious and wonderful ways. Elizabeth acknowledges Mary’s faith “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  This is a season when songs of faith fill the air, but if we’ve experienced a broken relationship, the death of a friend or r or some other loss, seasonal joy can test our faith. We bring to our God as much faith and trust as we have , knowing that an open heart is what God asks of us.

TUESDAY

DEC

20

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s gospel verse we pray, “O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness.”  As the title Key of David suggests, Jesus opens us to God’s grace and opens divinity to us, fulfilling God’s promises, feeding us in the Eucharist, gracing us with abundant blessings and companioning and strengthening us in times of trouble.

MONDAY

DEC

19

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s gospel an angel tells Zachariah that he and Elizabeth will have a child in their old age. Faithful to God, they, nonetheless, live in shame because they have no children.  The promised child, whom we know as John the Baptist, will bring joy to his parents and prepare the world for the coming of the messiah, Jesus. Faith often comes to us through our families. Pray for families, for parents and children, for those trying to become parents.  Pray for those who have wanted to be parents but remain childless and pray for your own parents and family members.

SUNDAY

DEC

18

Today’s Advent Reflection

 In today’s gospel an angel tells Joseph to take Mary as his wife because the child she carries has been conceived by the Holy Spirit.     Joseph’s dream is obviously unique, but we all have dreams. Bring your dreams, your imaginings, your questions and your longings into today’s prayer. Ask God what dreams God has for you. 

SATURDAY

DEC

17

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s gospel verse we pray, “O Wisdom of our God most high …come to teach us the path of knowledge.” God’s wisdom exceeds our wildest imaginings. Who of us would have imagined that God’s great saving act would begin with God becoming the tiniest of human beings? As part of your prayer today, remember a time when you made an unexpected turn either in life or on a walk or road trip.   What discoveries did you make about yourself or other people?  Pray for the grace to recognize the many ways God guides  and blesses your life.

FRIDAY

DEC

16

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s gospel Jesus says of John the Baptist “He was a burning and shining lamp.”  Later Jesus tells his followers that we are to be the light of the world.  Consider how your words, actions and attitudes are shaped by your discipleship. Pray for the courage and strength to follow God’s lead in making any necessary changes.

 

 

 

THURSDAY

DEC

15

Today’s Advent Reflection

As ads count down the number of shopping days before Christmas, we may find our attention has drifted away from the Incarnation. The good news is the store of God’s love never closes.  As part of your prayer today look at or remember a nativity scene.  What hopes do you bring to Emmanuel, our God who remains with us?  Is Jesus calling you to change or to take on a new prayer intention or act of service?  God’s wisdom and strength will guide you, as the prophet Isaiah notes “My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken.”

WEDNESDAY

DEC

14

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah reminds us that God, “the designer and maker of the earth,” did not create it to be a waste, but to be lived in. Offer prayers of thanksgiving today for the gifts of the earth and the earth itself, our home and the place of our savior’s birth.   Our careful use and reuse of the earth’s resources express our gratitude to our provident God.

TUESDAY

DEC

13

Today’s Advent Reflection

Today is the feast of Saint Lucy, patron of those with eye problems.  Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us see ourselves and others as God sees us: good men and women, sometimes in need of healing and correction, but always beloved.

MONDAY

DEC

12

Today’s Advent Reflection

Imagine that you just finished your day’s work and have settled in to watch the news, when an angel appears, telling you that you are graced, that God has chosen you for a special mission.  How would you respond?  While we are unlikely to experience an angelic announcement, God has graced each of us with a particular mission.  Remember how God got you through some small and large challenges and give thanks, acknowledging that, as the angel told Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

SUNDAY

DEC

11

Today’s Advent Reflection

Answering John the Baptist’s disciples’ question of whether he was the one to come, Jesus spoke of his own works of healing and preaching.  In the past week, where did you see God’s works?  What gave you comfort or joy? What made you smile? Give thanks for the small blessings that sustain us.

SATURDAY

DEC

10

Today’s Advent Reflection

In Psalm 80, we pray, “Lord make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”   Halfway through Advent we may find ourselves tired and distracted in our prayer.  Since the desire to pray is, in itself, God’s gift, know that God welcomes you, distractions and all.                     

FRIDAY

DEC

9

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s gospel, Jesus says that because he came eating and drinking, he was labeled a glutton and a drunkard.  How easy it is to label and dismiss people!  Knowing that the Incarnation proves God’s love and respect for us, how can we belittle another?  Pray for the conversion of those who label others and for the healing of those who are labeled.    

THURSDAY

DEC

8

Today’s Advent Reflection

On this feast of the Immaculate Conception, we marvel at God’s loving care, preparing Mary to be the mother of Jesus.  In today’s reading of the Letter to the Ephesians, we are reminded that in Christ, “we were also chosen…so that we might exist for God’s glory.” 

Spend some time today thanking God for the ways your example, your service and your very being, have  given God glory. What is God asking of you today? Pray for the wisdom, strength and grace to respond as Mary did.

WEDNESDAY

DEC

7

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s gospel, Jesus invites those who are weary to take up his yoke; he assures us the yoke will be easy and the burden light.  

There are times when the daily burdens seem overwhelming, far from light  or easy, but we can take comfort in the companionship of our God, who knew both the support of and betrayal by friends, the sorrow of the cross and the joy of resurrection. 

TUESDAY

DEC

6

Today’s Advent Reflection

The surround sounds of the season can drown out the desert voice calling us to prepare for Christ’s coming. Consider your prayer life.   

Do you pray each day?  Sometimes setting up a schedule or focusing on a candle, statue or picture can help us shift our attention from our many tasks to spend some time with God, speaking and listening, as friends do.

MONDAY

DEC

5

Today’s Advent Reflection

Through the roof!  Today’s gospel tells of the paralyzed man whose friends lowered his stretcher through the roof so Jesus might see and heal him. Jesus is always seeking us out, drawing us closer.  We need not climb rooftops, but like that young man we must meet Jesus as we are, strengths, and weaknesses, hopes and fears.

SUNDAY

DEC

4

Play Video

Today’s Advent Reflection

Today’s epistle expresses the hope that “the God of endurance and encouragement” will guide the members of the Roman community to be united with one another in Christ.  For us, as for those early followers, unity is not easily achieved. In our fragmented society, who stands with you and supports you in your efforts to live Christ’s good news? Pray for, and, perhaps, communicate with one of the persons who supports you. 

SATURDAY

DEC

3

Today’s Advent Reflection

Vatican II defined the church as a pilgrim people.  As we make this journey to Christmas, what road sign or directional signal grabs your attention?  Do you need to YIELD, to surrender to God’s will or accept help from another person? Do you need to STOP and correct an action or attitude or, perhaps, STOP to give yourself time for prayer and reflection?    Is there a GREEN LIGHT, urging you to follow that dream, hone that skill or talent with which God blessed you? 

WEDNESDAY

NOV

30

Today’s Advent Reflection

Like Saint Andrew, whose feast we celebrate today, each of us has been invited to follow Christ.  Discipleship requires responsibility, our taking up daily takes, and trust in God, as Psalm 72 reminds us, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.”  Being simple means pausing to notice God’s presence in a striking sunset, a shared laugh or an inner strength in the midst of suffering or uncertainty.

THURSDAY

DEC

1

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus compares those who listen to and obey God to someone who builds their house on a rock; firmly grounded, the house can withstand storms, winds and floods. Advent reminds us to check our life foundation and to reflect on recent weather.  Attending Mass, celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation, reading scripture and spiritual books, attending Advent programs in your parish or online, can keep us on steady ground in a busy season.

FRIDAY

DEC

2

Today’s Advent Reflection

Isaiah anticipates the coming of the messiah as a time of healing and peace, a time when “Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.”  Let us pray to the Holy Spirit that we might be open to change and encourage others to do the same. 

SUNDAY

Nov

27

Today’s Advent Reflection

Advent anticipates a time of peace when nations will beat swords into plows and cease making war.

Called by the Spirit into the season’s renewal, we too must change our word weapons: turn criticism into support, angered argument into storied listening and conversation.

May the Word of God be ever in our minds, in our hearts and on our lips so that Christmas may find us ready to celebrate God’s incarnate love.

MONDAY

Nov

28

Today’s Advent Reflection

While adults plan Christmas menus, gifts and travel, and children anticipate opening presents, God invites us to become ever more open to God’s greatest present, Jesus, who shares life with us through scripture, Eucharist, and community.  As Isaiah prophesied, “… the Lord’s glory will be shelter and protection.”  

Tuesday

Nov

29

Today’s Advent Reflection

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to his followers, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see” (Seeing Jesus, the disciples also saw, in the words of Pope Francis, “the human face of God.”  Spend some time today thanking God for the gift of faith and for those who have helped you know God.

Reflections By Fran McManus, RSM

Fran McManus, RSM, is a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. She teaches literature and poetry writing in the Adult Education Program of St. Francis of Assisi Church.

Her poems have appeared in Re: A Journal of Ideas https://reideasjournal.com/sisterfranpoems and in The New York Writers Coalition Journal https://nywriterscoalition.org/journal/11357/12.