Joy: Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Joy of Advent: Prepare Your Heart
by: Hannah Brockhaus – Catholic News Agency
During Advent, we should prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus like we joyfully prepare our homes for a visit from a family member or friend, Pope Francis said Sunday, especially removing anything keeping us from Christ. “When we await at home a visit from a loved one, we prepare everything with care and happiness. In the same way we want to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord: to wait for him every day with solicitude, to be filled with his grace when he comes,” the pope said this December.DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
In his weekly Angelus address, Francis reflected on the day’s first reading from Isaiah, which says to “make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low.”
The pope pointed out that the valleys in this passage can represent our sins of omission, such as failing to pray, or praying very little. The valleys could also be the ways we have failed to have charity toward others, especially those most in need of material or spiritual help.
In Advent, “we are called to be more attentive to the needs of others, those closest (to us). Like John the Baptist, in this way we can open roads of hope in the desert of the dry hearts of many people,” he said. Therefore, Advent is a good time to fill these valleys in our life, he said; to pray more intensely, to prioritize your spiritual life. On the other hand, when the verse says, “every mountain and every hill be lowered,” we are reminded of our faults of pride, arrogance and superiority, which must become attitudes of meekness and humility, just like our Savior is “meek and humble of heart.”
Then, when we’ve examined our conscience, “we are asked to eliminate all the obstacles we put into our union with the Lord” with joy, he said, because we are preparing for the coming of our Savior. “The Savior we are waiting for is able to transform our life with the power of the Holy Spirit, with the power of love. Indeed, the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts the love of God, an inexhaustible source of purification, of new life and freedom,” Francis said.
May the Virgin Mary, he concluded, who prepared for the coming of Christ with her whole being and existence, “help us to follow her example and guide our steps to meet the Lord who is coming.”
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.” – Philippians 4:4-5