Advent Season

I am taking a pause from the series of Embracing the Mystery to reflect on this kick-off week of advent.

Yesterday, I was able to have a day full of reflection on Advent; yeah my job is pretty awesome! The Jesuit priest leading the reflection shared a few questions that touched me and kind of uncomforted me a little as well, I will be sharing my reflection on this with you all today.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14

Advent is going to take us to contemplate three things, the coming of our Savior, the second and final coming, and the everyday coming of our Lord in our lives.

We look back— We all know this beautiful nativity story of our Jesus in a manger with Mary and Joseph and the whole setup of an ironic and contradictory to all norms coming of a King. We have grown up imagining and living out this beautiful scene in our memory and hearts. We remember this night with peace, love and lots of joy.

We look forward—this night takes us to a place of hope. We know we aren’t fully there. God created man, he said it was good and it’s not until we are good that man will go back to the nature of our creation. For this, we have some work to do! Yet, still we look forward with anticipation of what’s not yet happened: hope. We hope for Christ fully revealed because as of now we only know glimpses of who God is and we try to say we KNOW God, but really we are completely ignorant of who He truly is.

We look within— this anticipation HAS to take us to look within. To see where it is that Christ is being born this year? In an artificial nativity set for looks? Let’s take it a step further, let Him come into You. What does His coming say about this God that sometimes feels so afar? What does His coming say about you man and woman of flesh and blood that our Savior took on our same condition and walked in our midst? What does coming mean to everyone around us? God in Christ has revealed himself as a sacrifice of love of everlasting and never conforming love.  What does this say about you? THAT YOU ARE WORTH IT! It doesn’t make sense to look at yourself and consider yourself without value or that you’re nothing there isn’t a bigger lie than that… you my brother and sister whoever you are wherever you may be, you have been chosen to receive in your condition the Savior. He made himself man to remind us, human being that in our flesh and bone God lives—God resides. The problem is that likeness has been hidden by the power of sin. And this is why we prepare and wait— prepare our hearts and wait for something bigger.

The waiting and preparing is an everyday invitation, but in this Advent season, we find ourselves preparing in an intimate manner; in the Child of the manger of Nazareth.

Joandra Ocampo – Writer, unparalleled love

 

 

What’s the big deal?

 

“Dear young people, let us not be satisfied with a mediocre life. Be amazed by what is true and beautiful, what is of God!” –  Pope Francis


I don’t know about you but I ask a lot of questions, and by asking or looking I have found and learned many things. You may be thinking “duh that’s a no-brainer! Of course, if you’re looking for something you need to search around.” Well, see that’s how this whole idea of God (if you want to put it that way) works. He’s our answer!
Church
Why is she so important?
Because she is how we know Jesus.
Why is Jesus so important?
Because He is how we know God.
Why is God so important?
Because He is how we know love.
Why is love so important?
Because it’s how we know happiness.
Without love, our happiness is not true happiness.
Without God, our love is not true love.
Without Jesus, our God is not the true God.
Without the Church, our Jesus is not the true Jesus.
Our faith is so beautiful that if we truly believe and let Him in our hearts, our life will completely change. This Sunday Advent begins and what better time to truly start seeking our God. The word Advent means ‘to come,’ and the Church, with great wisdom, nudges us with a ‘wake-up call’ to ensure that we are honest with our God and in a right relationship with Him. God is seeking you. Are you hiding from Him? If not, good. If so, stop. You have no reason to hide yourself from Him.
He loves us even more than we love ourselves, so let Him in. He’s coming back at some point. The fact is only scary if we’re not where we need to be in our relationship with God. Advent is a beautiful gift, so seek God and make the season one of depth and of honesty. Expose your soul before God and allow Him to love you for who you truly are: a sinner in need of His mercy; a work in progress.

Fabiola Navichoque – Writer, unparalled love

Greater Romance

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“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” ― Augustine of Hippo


Fall in love with Christ and let Him change your life. Fall in love with the way He tells you that He loves through the first ray of sunshine that you catch when you first wake up.

Falling in love with Him will make you feel like that princess in all the stories, where you fall in love with the way He opens your eyes and makes you see the world differently, how he protects you, and how He makes you finally believe that you are unique and beautiful. Falling deeply and completely in love with Him solves many other problems and makes everything else just so much simpler.  It will have your world changed completely in an instant.

Being in love with Christ keeps drawing me back to this one thing – intimacy with Him.  He is the goal… not becoming that awesome speaker, that splendid spiritual leader.  Of course, He wants us to become that but out of fruitfulness of our intimacy with Him.  We do not choose to spend time with Him so that we can get power or exposure or have our needs met.  We spend time with Him because we are so in love with Him that we long to be near Him.  

I think about my faith. I think about my intimacy with Him. I think about all the ways He has shown me His love for me. He has strengthened me; he has given me confidence and the ability to fight. I think about how, because of Him, I have been able to stand after falling down, been able to rise after slipping, and been able to push forward after taking so many steps backwards. That is what happens when you are in love.

Therefore, when you fall in love, you choose to love. You choose to be with the one you love. You choose love when nothing else makes sense. And that right there is the greatest romance you can ever adventure for.

Claudia Navichoque – Writer, unparalleled love