“Will this be my last Advent?” I ask myself that question every December. I know I should be anticipating the second and first coming of Christ, but something in my Irish DNA pushes my button for dread and I begin wondering when “it” will be over for me on earth.
Flannery O’Conner believed our hearts were either “Christ centered or Christ haunted.” During Advent I try to make room in the center of my heart for the Lord, but I am sometimes haunted with memories of past regrets and missed opportunities.
When considering my “it,” I find salvation in two unexpected and redeeming attitudes.
First, knowing that being in the sunset of life, I escape fear by staying awake. I look for the joy, hope, new life, sense of wonder, gratitude and excitement linked to the Birth of Christ.
Being conscious of “it” makes me appreciate the simple pleasures of life: good food, a warm shower, a movie, a joke, conversation, music, or the memory of the presence of grace in my life.
Second, the thought of meeting St. Peter when I am not ready, willing, or prepared makes me pay more attention to people I see often: friends, family, staff, those who have loved me, encouraged, inspired, corrected and forgiven me.
Christmas is coming (again). This year I want my heart to be less concerned about “it” and more centered on becoming like the One who is always with and saves us.
Msgr. Joseph M. Corley is pastor of Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Darby.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: