Monday, December 03, 2007

Advent Reflection: Signing ourselves before the Gospel reading

When the Gospel is announced -- "A reading from the Holy Gospel according to N.", to which we reply "Glory to you, Lord" -- we make the Sign of the Cross on our forehead, lips, and over our heart. This signifies the silent prayer, "May the Word of God be + in my mind, + upon my lips, and + in my heart." How easy the first and second are; how hard the third one is!

Advent is a penitential season in the Church's liturgical year; the year starts with penitence. During this season of Advent, let us remember those times when we knew the Word of God, spoke it, but failed to let it live in our hearts. We, like the Pharisees, are hypocrites at times; for this we must repent, and ask God for mercy and forgiveness. Our hearts are fickle: fleshy one moment, stony the next. As we await with joyful hope the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, let us pray the words of St. David: Create in me a clean heart, O God. (Ps. 51:10)

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