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Christ and the King; An Advent of Silence

We honor Christ the King this weekend. The theme is clear from the Scriptures, but its current celebration is not quite a century old. At the heart of this feast established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI is the relationship between worldly power and the Kingdom of God revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The great Christian author C.S. Lewis expressed this relationship eloquently: governments, nations, empires, kingdoms, leaders all exist for a time and pass away; but God and persons made in the image of God endure forever. Or, as one of the Advent prayers asks: “We humbly beseech you, O Lord, that you may teach us to judge wisely the things of earth and hold firm to the things of heaven.” Speaking of Advent: as you have seen in the Advent/ Christmas mailing, our One in Christ ACC will focus this Advent season reflecting on silence in our often noisy and frantic world. We will be invited to cultivate silence in our homes, our vehicles, and our hearts; and how to relieve the silence that surrounds the lonely and forgotten. How will you use these weeks to prepare for the Birth of the Savior? Advent invites us to the freedom to slow down, to keep watch, to wait in silence and stillness. For some years, I have published this list of suggestions for a more spiritual Advent. No one can do all of them, of course; but again this year I ask you to consider this list and explore ways to continue or establish new and holy traditions in your home.

-- Declare a “Peace and Quiet Zone” in your home – TV, radio, cell phones, and other electronics are turned off and all spend 5 or 10 minutes in silent prayer and reflection. Use this time to appreciate the stillness and silence, to meditate prayerfully on the meaning of Advent and the promise of a Redeemer.

-- Discuss a family gift to a charitable organization. As Pope

Francis has stressed so often, sincere concern for those genuinely in need reflects our understanding of the meaning of the Lord’s birth. One way to give a very meaningful and truly useful gift is to use the money one would spend on a gift as a donation to help the needy in our world.

-- Spend a few minutes around the dinner table talking about Bishop Neary’s Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist and tell a story of what the Eucharist means to you.

-- As you write each card or wrap each gift, offer a prayer for each person who will receive it.

-- Visit a friend or relative who is lonely for some companionship. Call first, and bring along a small gift.

-- Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Christmas, and seek to be reconciled with others as well with a sincere apology.

-- Volunteer for an outreach service opportunity in our community, help with a parish event, invite a friend to Mass with you.

-- Consider setting up the Christmas manger scene gradually, reflecting on the significance of each figure to the scene. Why did God place them in that time and place?

-- Try to have the preparations of shopping, baking, cards, and so on finished a week before Christmas, so that the final days of Advent can be spent in calm and peace.

-- Go caroling with a group of families and other friends.

-- Have each member of the household set aside one gift they have received to give away in turn to the less fortunate. This is a way for the “giving” of Christmas to extend beyond the day itself.

-- Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary together.

-- Spend some quiet time in prayer alone at the manger scene, either in church or at home.

Thank Jesus for coming to us as our Savior.

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