So, it is the first Sunday of Advent. I missed writing last week for the Feast of Christ the King. I was “under the weather”. I hate to use the word sick because I was functioning, but just barely. Being “under the weather” and Advent, leads to some reflection. I haven’t been keeping up in any area of my life. I haven’t been consistent in my Year of Faith activities. Advent is like lent – a time to repent and renew in preparation for the coming of the King. A new year begins so it is time for new resolutions.
The question is how to make this Year of Faith more meaningful. My reflections this week clearly brought into focus that my activities are not as fulfilling as they might be. I need shift my attention so, instead of focusing on my learning, my growth, my faith, I need to turn outward. I need to do, not learn. I don’t know what that means yet.
I do know that I’m going to go back to writing on Friday’s. I have less time to reflect but I have time to write then. I am free of any responsibilities on Friday. It is my time and so giving it over has always had spiritual benefit. I hope that will prove to be true again. I haven’t prayed the rosary every day either. I cannot get through it without falling asleep. I either have to find a different time to say it or adopt a new practice.
Now, I would like to ponder a thought I had last night that continues in my brain today. When receiving communion in the hand was introduced, I was ecstatic. It is my preferred way only because I don’t like sticking my tongue out. I obsessed over stupid things when approaching and receiving.
Receiving in the hand was introduced after the altar rail was abandoned. And since I was young when we started receiving standing up, I don’t remember if I obsessed when dealing. Since those days, communion has become a cattle call. We walk up, take and turn around, walk back.
The family used to go to a parish off and on that still had you kneel at the altar rail. You could receive either way but everyone knelt. In reflecting on cattle call communion and this experience, I have to say that when I received at the communion rail, there was more preparation. I prepared as I went to kneel, waited, received, rose and left. It didn’t seem as chaotically robotic. Now many would disagree with me. Going up to the altar rail often seemed too choreographed. But, I think if you used to receive this way, you remember the feeling of time and tone was different.
Something else about receiving at the altar rail strikes me as important in this culture. You had time to reflect on your worthiness and unworthiness. That process promoted humility. In our “me-me-me” narcissistic society – preparing at the altar might be a strong antidote. If we ever go back to this, I must admit I would still prefer to receive in the hand.
Advent is the time to prepare just as we prepare every time we receive the Lord in communion. Will I be prepared this year? Will you? Will Christ find any faith in this world in Him or will it be only in man and what we can do. Will Christmas be a feast of faith or just a feast of gluttony and consumerism? Re-focusing and preparation are in order!
I pray the following Ancient prayer to remind me
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.