As we turn from Ordinary Time to Advent, our readings alert us to the way we are to live in preparation for the Lord. On the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, St. Paul tells the Thessalonians how they need to see the lives of their teachers as models. On the First Sunday of Advent, Jesus tells his followers to "stay awake," for we do not know when to expect the Son of Man. At the beginning of the liturgical year, we can consider the people we know whose lives are models for us and how we are alert to the work of God in our lives.
This season when we ponder that God became human and dwelt among us is an appropriate time to examine how every aspect of creation bears God's grace. Fr. Stephen S. Wilbricht, CSC, explores sacramentality in the feature "Seeing the World through the Paschal Mystery." Linking the principle of sacramentality with the liturgy, he explains that Christian worship needs to be more engaged with the things of this world that reveal God's goodness. Sacraments, he notes, should be messy with overflowing water, living water and bread and wine that are the "work of our hands."
The Liturgical Spirituality article "A Time to Reconcile Ourselves with God and Others" by Fr. Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC, looks ahead to Lent. The author helps us contemplate God's abundant mercy and pardon. Lent offers the time and space for us to consider where healing needs to occur in our lives. May we allow ourselves to seek the mercy God offers.
The last of Rev. J. Philip Horrigan's series of articles on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' document Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture, and Worship explores how art leads the faithful from the visible to the invisible. When a parish considers a piece of art for its worship space, he notes, consideration needs to be given to whether the piece draws them to the celebration of the Paschal Mystery. The parish staff and the art and environment team will find this article valuable to their work.
Joseph Milner's article "Openness to Growth in Faith Leads Others to God" will help Christian initiation teams reflect on how to continually be vulnerable to God in their lives. The coordinator of Christian initiation will want to discuss this article with the initiation team.
Parishes will want to distribute the bulletin insert "Our Prayer of Thanksgiving," which will help the assembly understand the Eucharistic Prayer. Directors of religious education can help parents explain the Mass to children with the downloadable article "At Mass, We Give Thanks."
Finally, the article "FDLC at 50: Continuing to Form the People of God" by Corinna Laughlin tells of how the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions has promoted full, conscious, and active participation in the renewed liturgy for half a century.
May joy fill your Advent and Christmas seasons.
Bishop Joseph N. Perry
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
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