The Reset Button
A couple of weeks ago, Mary and Peter were sitting at the kitchen table having a battle of wits. Mary, 4, was informing Peter about some issue with perfect certainty. Peter’s response to this was to tell Mary, “You don’t know everything!” I chuckled and agreed with Peter. I suggested that perhaps Dad was the one who knew the most in the house. Peter quickly retorted, “I am smarter than Dad!” Oh, really? His father, as luck would have it, was right on hand for this declaration. Tate said with a grin, “Spell ‘Hilgefort,’ Pete.” The gig was up. Peter didn’t have a leg to stand on and he knew it.
Peter needed to stop talking, admit he was wrong, and hit the reset button. Did he? To Peter’s credit, he did. Humility had won out. These are the moments in a parent’s life that give you hope!
As we approach Advent this weekend, we all have this opportunity to hit the “Reset” button. During this time we go back to the beginning, back to the Baby Jesus. This time is a chance to not only prepare for the Baby Jesus in our hearts, but to change ourselves. To “remake” ourselves, if you will, closer to who God is calling us to be. Something that can only be done by the grace of God.
There are three basic steps to this.
First, as with Peter, we have to stop talking. We have to be silent and still and LISTEN to God. We must make time to spend in silent prayer with God. No excuses. Cardinal Sarah in his latest book, The Power of Silence, speaks of silence being the first language of God. What a beautiful thought and how true it is. Imagine the Baby Jesus in the womb of our Blessed Mother. This was a time of silence as with any infant. It was also a time of listening, learning the voice of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and other sounds of daily life. We can never listen and hear if we are never silent. Believe me, as the person most likely to talk to a wall, this has been a great struggle in my spiritual life! Take the time to be silent and listen. There is no better place for this than in front of a Tabernacle.
Second, we must admit to ourselves and to God those areas in our life that need to be changed. The silence in our first step will aid us in this process. By silently reflecting on our life we should be able to identify where we fall the most into sin. What are the things we should be doing that we are not? Who have we not forgiven that we should? Who have we hurt that we have not asked for forgiveness from? The culmination of this process should be going to confession and seeking the forgiveness and mercy of God. This will also fill our souls with the graces necessary to help avoid future sin. Next, we should have some concrete steps for ourselves that will facilitate a permanent change. This is so difficult, but the only way to be “remade” is through change.
Finally, if we have the fortitude and courage to walk through these first two steps during the Advent season, we will be able to hit the “reset” button on Christmas. We can welcome the Baby Jesus with a new heart, more closely conformed to that of His Sacred Heart. We can start our lives anew by living out our resolutions, continuing to spend time in silence, and carrying out those works of mercy and charity that we were avoiding.
Everyone is always seeking ways to be a better version of themselves. Advent gives us that opportunity every year to act on that desire. Having the will is only the beginning. We must put in the work to bring about change in our life. God will give us the grace we need, but He cannot help us if we refuse to cooperate with this grace.
Silence, admitting those areas in our lives that require change, and resetting our lives to make those changes. This is what Jesus desires from each of us. Let us bring a gift worthy of the Newborn King. Let us bring Him our hearts remade in His Image.
I will pray that you make the most of this Advent for yourself and your family. Please keep me and my family in your prayers as well. JMJ