Week One: Hope
During this First week of advent our focus is on Hope. Hope is a virtue. It is a gift that is given freely and is to be used and to be worn out. It is not something that is to be placed on a shelf or kept in a box for safe keeping. Hope, is the ability to stand on this side of eternity knowing that where we are going is indeed what God is preparing us for. What we are being prepared for is the weight and full glory of God Himself. Upon the advent of the second coming of the King, we will have no more use for hope, because hope is complete in the presence of Christ.
Like the Jewish faithful who loved and served God, patiently and faithfully awaiting the Messiah’s coming, we too wait for Christ’s arrival.
How to live into the virtue of Hope:
A daily guide to receive what God is freely giving to you.
The sin of despair greatly damages our ability to receive this gift. Despair happens when sin creeps into life. This happens slowly, through small sins which chip away like a Lumber Jack chopping down a big tree. Once this happens, bigger sins begin to enter the life. This could lead to believing that the sin you have entered into is too great or too big for God to forgive and the hope in salvation and forgiveness is reduced to rubble.
The sin of presumption also greatly diminishes your capacity to know the hope that Christ is bringing. This is when you presume upon your own capacities in saving yourself without help from God. It’s the mentality of not recognizing or rejecting that Christ alone is the savior, the one who brings hope to those who need it. This is also when you presume upon God’s power or mercy for your salvation. It’s the mentality that a continual conversion to Christ is not needed. That, when you sin you presume that God’s power or mercy will automatically cover it, and you will make it through the gates and into the Kingdom without passing by the cross, or without authentically loving God and others as He requests.
This week is for you to take an inventory of your daily life. Set aside a time during the day to examine your conscience and determine where you have invited Christ into your words and actions and where you have failed to do so. Once you have examined your conscience, firmly resolve to take action so that you are prepared to receive the hope that is freely given to you. Receive the sacrament of Confession and Eucharist. It will turn your focus from yourself and onto Christ and the Kingdom.
I confess to almighty God,
And to you,
My brothers and sisters,
That I have sinned through my own fault,
In my thoughts and in my words,
In what I have done,
And in what I have failed to do;
And I ask blessed Mary,
All the angels and saints,
My brothers and sisters,
To pray for me to the Lord our God.