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Rejoicing in the Third Week of Advent

What exactly does it mean to rejoice in the Lord?

Discerning Advent – Preparation

People had to discern John the Baptist’s message. Was he the messiah? What were the signs they saw? Discernment includes many signs, consolation and desolation, and movements from the spirits that prepare the way to a choice.

Rejoice Always!

Like most of the prophets, Zephaniah trades in a fair amount of doom and gloom—but he also dreams of the great day of victory and vindication. The Apostle Paul—the former rabbi Shaul, who had studied the prophets and their works under the great teacher Gamaliel—came to see that in the Paschal Mystery, in the dying and rising of Jesus, the totality of Zephaniah’s message was realized. The destruction that Zephaniah and the others foresaw came massively true in the destruction of Christ’s body on the cross. However, having gone all the way down, God in Christ brought the human race all the way up. Therefore, rejoice!

The Holy Ache of Advent

Advent is a time to embrace an inner longing that in our wisest moments we know nothing this side of eternity can fulfill.

Discerning Advent – Annunciation

God illumines a light into the world through the Annunication. Mary’s yes comes in a place of freedom, hope, and not clinging. Ignatius gives us several exercises for making decisions with this kind of freedom.

Mountains and Valleys

In our Gospel for today, Luke invokes the most significant cultural and political players of that time and place; but then, just as he did in the Christmas story, he pulls the rug out from under us. The word of God, the definitive guide to life, came not to one of the major players in their palaces, but to this isolated oddball, this mad prophet wearing animal skins and eating locusts. And this oddball prophet, who speaks the word of God, is ushering in a whole new way of ordering one’s life.

Discerning Advent – Darkness

Incarnation occurs all the time, even in our decisions. We are in a whirl of confusion and feel like we’re in darkness. Advent is a time of sitting with those raw feelings and emotions because discernment begins with observation.

A New Fixed Star

This Sunday is New Year’s Day, in the liturgical sense of the term. With the first Sunday of Advent, we commence the liturgical year of 2019. And New Year’s day is always a good time for resolutions, taking stock, starting over again. I want to interpret our Gospel for this Sunday, which portrays Jesus is full apocalyptic mode, in that spirit.

Discerning Advent Series

A four-week series on Ignatian discernment.

What is Salvation?

Perhaps it's time to re-form our understanding of salvation – and our image of God.