My favorite liturgical season, Advent....the beautiful readings, devotions, hymns and novenas, all helping to prepare us for the coming of Christ.
About 10 years ago, my mom introduced me to the devotion of the 1000 Hail Mary's from St. Catherine of Bologna. The story as I was told was that in the year of 1445, St. Catherine wanted to recite 1000 Hail Mary’s on Christmas Eve. She was given permission by her superior to spend the night in prayer and meditation. While focusing on the incarnation of the Son of God, at one point during the night, as she was reciting the Hail Mary, our Lady appeared to her, holding the infant Jesus and placing Him in St. Catherine’s arms.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love the Infant Child Jesus! Many years ago, I attended an Advent retreat lead by Fr. Michael Della Penna and Fr. Rick Martignetti, at the St. Francis Center in Caledon, Ontario. The two friars lead the group in a mediation on the Infant Child. We were asked to visualize being in our favorite place, totally relaxed and at peace and while we were in that place of comfort, we were guided to noticed a woman walking towards us holding a child in her arms. During the mediation, the friars asked us to observe what were we doing, what our surroundings looked like, and if we recognized the woman holding the child as she was approaching us? As the meditation continued and the woman got closer, we were told it was our Heavenly Mother Mary holding the Infant Jesus. Then we were asked, what did she look like?...what was Jesus doing in her arms?...how did we react to both Mary and Jesus? Since that time, my advent has become more reflective. I often go back to that same mediation with different outlooks each time.
Have a listen to Joan Attard on Advent
Whatever you do to prepare for advent this year, please remember in the midst of your busyness of life, to slow down and spend some time in silence and in prayer. It might change your advent!