Today at mass, before the celebration started, a family of parishioners went to the microphone to read a short prayer and light the first candle on our church's Advent wreath. I sat and watched, with a gleam in my eye, because my mother signed our family up to light the Advent wreath on the last Sunday of Advent. She knows all too well how, since childhood, my brothers and I would fight over who got to light the pink candle. Dearest mother, in her infinite wisdom, picked the Sunday with the most candles to light, and the longest prayer to read, so her children could live in harmony. Far be it from us to let being in our twenties stop us from acting with the heart, soul and maturity of children.
Once I got over myself, and how much cooler our Advent wreath lighting slot is than all the other families who sieged the sign up sheet in the lobby of the church as soon as the elderly secretary made it available, I was able to concentrate on the mass. The homily today was particularly inspiring for me. I wasn't exactly ready for Advent to start. Certainly I welcome it, because it includes fabulous things like purple and pink candles, and my birthday, but I have been so busy being busy that I never took time in my daily prayer to prepare myself.
Thankfully, God puts people in your life to kick you in the butt, and today Father Cristiano did just that. His homily centered on how Advent is a season of self-examination. So here I sit, thinking about how I am going to examine myself, and prepare for advent. Here is what I have come up with so far:
1. Figure out what Advent is
2. Write a blog post about it
3. Pray, pray, pray
4. Keep praying, it's good for you.
I am still working on refining steps 3 and 4. I might add a fifth step, which I think is going to be something along the lines of gloat about getting to light the pink candle because it's on my birthday, but hopefully praying and examining my conscience will refine that step as well.