Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Renewing ourselves this Advent

Fr. Khanh Pam-Nguyen 
St. Stephen Catholic Church, Nuuanu

“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says the Lord.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at end…” (Isaiah 40:1-2a).

God paints a picture of hope for his people of the present time. Though the message above is thousands of years old, it comes to us new because God is capable of making things new. He himself is ever-new, ever-fresh.

The Lord comforts us in our journeys. Understanding this is a gift that is renewing to the heart and mind. Undoubtedly, part of that understanding is willingness to engage in the mission to bring God’s comfort to his people. No one is exempted; for, by virtue of baptism, the call has been powerfully and wonderfully laid within us. The baptismal birthright allows us to recognize the natural flow God intends for his children to follow; in this case, because we have received God’s comfort, we are to share that comfort with others.

To be a comfort to people is to understand also the need to embrace God fully, to surrender to him completely knowing that his kingship shall reign in our lives; that God can be trusted to govern us with justice, mercy, and infinite love; that God will take care of our needs; that God will lead us to the path of eternal light.

In our journeys to God, let us continuously be engaged in the renewal of our relationships with him. Let us continue to be in tune with his Word. Let us be passionate also in allowing grace to work for us as we read writings inspired by the Holy Spirit that make us grow.

A joyful Advent to all!

More resources for Advent, or anytime of the year:

1. In Conversation with God by Fr. Francis Fernandez

I cannot be happier than I already am for having purchased the series In Conversation with God. Of seven volumes that cover the Latin Church's liturgical readings, it is a companion to a spiritual journey that accentuates God working in the ordinariness of life. You can be sure to see yourself working in the mundane with God's vigor and grace.

2. The Way, Furrow, The Forge By St. Josemaria Escriva (a priest who founded Opus Dei)

This one is a three-volume set of writings by St. Josemaria meant to ensure anyone a heightened desire of intimacy with God. The counsels are simple yet deep enough to jar the mind and heart that they may listen more attentively to the voice of God. When one desires to follow, it is a good beginning of a journey that leads to both challenges and joys. This book is worth having in a journey to one's final end, where end itself is bliss of eternity. 
"What a marvelous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! — He is about to arrive!" (St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, 548).