Most of us readily think of St. Mary, Mother
of God, during Advent. After all, Mary is the one closest to Jesus.
Two Marian feasts fall during Advent: the Solemnity of the Immaculate
Conception (Dec. 8) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec.
12). From Mary we learn the greatest traits of the Christian: love,
humility, justice, openness to God's grace and willingness to act.
more about the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He tirelessly evangelized in the Far East. Busy
as he was, he took time to set religious truths to verse and fit
them to popular tunes in the countries he served. This was such
a successful way of spreading the Good News that his songs were
sung in the streets. Xavier invested his missionary zeal in a way
that yielded a harvest long after he left. This didn't happen without
hours spent in silence and prayer, asking for guidance and inspiration.
Ask for his intercession if you want your time spent in Advent to
bear fruit long after you've left the season behind. Read more about St. Francis Xavier.
"The one who seeks God continually will
find him, for God is in everything," says St. John Damascene.
It's to this little-known Advent saint that we owe the pleasure
of looking at religious art. In a period of Church history when
others wanted to forbid the use of images, John Damascene insisted
they could be used to inspire us. He suffered for his convictions,
but now we need to thank him. Where would we be at Christmastime
without our treasure of religious art? Take time looking at your
Madonna and Child Christmas cards, and thank God for clear thinkers
like John Damascene. Read more about St. John Damascene.
This fourth-century Greek bishop is known for
his faithfulness to Christ, his devotion to justice and to charity.
Santa Claus is a character that started with Nicholas and took on
a life of its own. We would do well to remember the real Nicholas.
Ask for his intercession as you pray for a charitable heart. Read
more about St. Nicholas.
Ambrose of Milan spent much of his time listening.
He listened to St. Monica as she wept about her sinful sonthe
future St. Augustineand Ambrose was able to comfort her. He
listened to opposing factions in the Church and was able to make
peace. This Doctor of the Church saw himself as a lifelong learner:
"In the endeavor to teach, I desire that I may be able to learn,"
he said. We only learn if we keep listeningespecially when
we're the teachers! Pray with Ambrose to improve your listening
skills. Read more about St. Ambrose.
This fourth-century martyr chose to be a Christian
when being Christian was illegal. She wanted to give up all her
wealth and devote her life to the poor, but she herself became a
victim of oppression. After resisting the advances of a Roman soldier,
she was denounced as a Christian and torturously executed. She teaches
us that life in Christ's light is worth devoting your life toeven
dying for. Read more about St. Lucy.
John of the Cross
He is the great mystic of Advent, who says that
we are "face-to-face with Love's own grace." What wonderful
words to ponder! Yet in contrast to John's lofty poetry, he took
for himself the most menial jobs wherever he was. Before he entered
religious life he worked in a hospital for people with disgusting
diseases. Besides bathing them, he sang songs to cheer them up.
Even when he held high administrative posts he took the lowliest
tasks. His life reminds us that no matter how soaring our spirituality,
it must be grounded in humble day-to-day duties or we miss the whole
meaning of the Incarnation. Read more about St. John of the Cross.
Adapted from The
God-Shaped Hole: Advent Daily Reflections