We all know that Advent is a time of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus. This year I anticipate that I will be experiencing an Advent in the true sense of the word. Let me explain.
For many years, I have not been able to receive the Sacraments due to the state of my marriage. I divorced and remarried without seeking an annulment from the Church. For over a year, my wife and I have waited for the Marriage Tribunal’s decision to annul our previous marriages. I am happy to say that both of our cases have been resolved, freeing us to convalidate our marriage and to prepare for Vicki’s reception into the Catholic Church! We were hoping for the convalidation as soon as possible once we received the Decrees of Nullity from the Tribunal.
As timing would have it, the final answer to our annulments came just before the beginning of Advent. Coupled with that, our pastor went on vacation right around the same time. We then thought, since we were civilly married on Christmas Eve it would be nice to have our convalidation as close to that date as possible. That got me to thinking: the start of Advent and our anticipated convalidation date would be the perfect opportunity to prepare myself to receive the Sacraments; it coincided almost exactly with the season of Advent.
I then thought about how I would have to prepare myself for these upcoming events. First, I would have to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that would require an Examination of Conscience. Then, I would be able to receive the Eucharist, hopefully on our convalidation day.
Since I have nearly 30 days to prepare, I decided to start attending daily Mass. I wanted to be open and receptive to God’s graces and will. In all the readings I have been hearing nothing but God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness; how He seeks the lost sheep; no one is left behind; it is not His wish to have us sin or to live in sin. It was if God has been speaking specifically to me. I have also been asking God to give me inspiration; just today, Father’s homily reminded me about Surrender. Each time I see Jesus at the Consecration and watch others receive Communion, I tell Him that I am ready to receive Him myself and that the day is coming very soon.
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You would think that I would be rushing to receive the Sacraments, but I think the way I am preparing my way back is working for me. It is methodical. The anticipation is building. Have you noticed the words, preparation and anticipation? It came to me that I was living a True Advent. What is the end result? Jesus!
So, this is my Advent preparation for this year. Not only will I get to receive Jesus again, I will be back in good graces with the Church, and I get the girl too!
Copyright 2016 Michael T Carrillo
About the Author
Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.