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Dec 2016

AN ADVENT MAKE OVER

Advent is a good time to look at our lives and reassess how we are doing. Mili Rengi suggests a number of ways that our hearts can become more like that of Jesus.

Our Hearts

It is good to feel refreshed, whether it is just a quick shower to wake us up and refresh our tired bodies or spending some time reading or listening to music that refreshes our minds. Treating ourselves to a relaxing holiday refreshes both our bodies and our minds. We are more than body and mind and the state of spiritual life is also very important, “The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) This does not refer to our physical heart but to that part within us where faith dwells. “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.” (Galatians 4:6) It is our hearts that God wants to change to become more like His. So how do we develop a more Christ-like heart? With the Holy Spirit’s help we can become more aware of the qualities that we need to develop. Here are a few suggestions.

Loving

The heart of Jesus is full of love for us. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). So let us live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2) Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us to be more loving, kind and considerate in all that we do.

Humble

A loving heart is also humble. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Let us try to live this verse by following the heart of Jesus. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) Humility is putting other people first. Let us always think of others and their needs before we think of ourselves.

Forgiving

When we hold on to anger or hurt our hearts become bitter. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke: 23:34) Even when Christ was in agony hanging on the cross, He prayed for those who had persecuted him. Let us follow His example and forgive others then we will be healed and free to love as Jesus did.

Caring

Jesus always noticed the people who needed him. Let us ask the Lord to give us a caring heart to help those around us. Are there people we know who are marginalized or bullied who need a friend to help them? Holy Spirit help us be more caring.

Truthful

It is easy to lie about not doing your homework, drinking alcohol, where we have been or who we have spent time with. It is easier to tell a lie than admit that we have done something wrong. When we do not tell the truth it affects our relationships with others. We all sin and do things that we regret but by being honest and open we can build up trust and respect in others. Jesus was truthful at all times, even in the most difficult situations, regardless of the cost to Himself. Let us get into the habit of always speaking the truth.

Grateful

We often take things for granted! Let us remember that even the basic necessities that we enjoy are a luxury to many people in other parts of the world. Having a grateful heart is one of the best cures for complaining. We can also inspire others to have faith in Jesus by being thankful to God for all the blessings that He has given us.

Prayerful

Prayer is amazing, it works miracles! A simple form of prayer is talking to Jesus, as you would speak to your best friend and we listen to what He wants to say to us when we read the Bible. Jesus called us His friends in John 15:15. Let us resolve to talk to Jesus, our best friend, every day.

A Gift For Jesus

We can make this Advent a special time of preparation for Christmas by going to Confession and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We can go to Mass and receive Holy Communion more often and we can find more time for personal prayer and Bible reading. Let us ask for the help of the Holy Spirit as we pray with Saint Augustine of Hippo, “Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there your cheerful beams.” Let us pray that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) This Christmas, let us give Jesus, the best possible gift, which is our own pure and refreshed heart!

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