Practice of Virtue

Happy Advent to everyone! We come again to this wonderful time of year wherein we prepare our hearts and our lives for the coming of Jesus Christ. This is a time marked by interior cleansing, reconciliation, silence and beauty.

There are many wonderful talks on www.ewtn.com about Advent and Fr. Robert Barron at www.wordonfire.org always has great resources about our life of faith and how to grow in holiness.

For us Catholics, this really is a brand new year and it begins with a deep outpouring of grace to aid us along the path. As you reflect upon the year gone by; what do you wish was different about your life? What changes would you like to see this coming year? Ask for the help of God and begin that path now.

As I was pondering this evening and practicing some music for an upcoming Mass, I was reflecting upon the fact that sometimes I really love to sing (and sometimes I don't!). And as I listen to people like Audrey Assad and Kim Walker-Smith, I surely wish that I could sing out in such beauty from the depths of my heart and soul like they do. But.....I can't. Why? Well, I may have that potential within somewhere but my voice remains untrained. I am not free to sing like that because I don't have the training or the practice to sing with such competence and glory. I see something that I desire but my voice is not trained enough to achieve it.

This is very similar to our spiritual lives. True freedom is being able to see what is good and then choose to do that good. How often we admire people who are kind, patient, hard working, courageous, brave etc., and what we may not realize is that they have had a long training in that virtue aided by the grace of God. They don't develop competency in that virtue overnight anymore than Audrey or Kim achieved a disciplined voice in one music lesson. It takes practice, hard work and sacrifice.

Maybe this Advent, you might want to look at a virtue you desire to acquire and have a conversation with God about that. Do you struggle with addiction or luke-warmness and desire to be pure and have a heart on fire for God? Do you struggle with judgment or criticism or anger and desire to be generous, kind and giving? Talk to God about that. Listen to what He says and make a plan of action.

Nothing ever happens by having only good intentions. We must choose the path of grace and dedication. And by doing so, we choose the path of freedom.

Let us pray for one another on this brief but powerful journey toward Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World.

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