It is with great joy that I offer you the chance to follow A Season of Holiness, the daily Advent reflections for 2018 gifted to us by Fr David Knight.
His is a truly wonderful gift and I hope you find it a most useful tool as we prepare for Christmas.
May God bless you
I wish you a blessed Advent building up to a wonderful Christmas!
Once again, I am trying to make up for my non-response to so many beautiful, loving things you have done for me: gifts, anniversary cards, letters. They touched me deeply. I love you for them. And every time you’ve blessed me, I promised myself I would write back immediately.
But I am fighting a losing battle-on more fronts than this one! Still, I am raising my flag! I am waving it now in this tiny gesture of gratitude that I hope you will accept as an expression of great love. I am sending you this booklet of Advent reflections. I hope you enjoy some of the thoughts, or if not, get some fun out of laughing at me for having them!
If you want news of me, the writings that express my thoughts are the only news that counts. At 87 my body isn’t doing much, although my health has been good except for 10 days in the hospital with pneumonia. I am out now and drinking scotch again-a sure sign of normal health.
Love, blessings, and best wishes to you all! As the old toast goes:
Here’s to all them that we loves,
And here’s to all them that loves us.
And here’s to all them that loves them that loves them, That loves them that loves them that loves us!
In His love,
Fr David M. Knight
My contact information: cell (901) 500 9588
1310 Dellwood Avenue
Memphis TN 38127
The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary: And she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to your word.
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Pour forth, we beseech you, 0 Lord, your grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.
COME, HOLY SPIRIT
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful,
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, Lord,
and our hearts will be regenerated. And you will renew the face of the earth!
God, by the light of the Holy Spirit you instruct the hearts of the faithful.
In the same Spirit, help us to know what is truly right
and always to rejoice in your consolation.
THE “WIT” PRAYER
Jesus, I give you my body.
Live this day with me;
Live this day in me;
Live this day through me.
Let me think with your thoughts,
and speak with your words,
and act as your body on earth.
Advent is a time of expectation.
In his new Ietter, Rejoice and Be Glad, Pope Francis is calling the whole church “to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence;’ What better time to think about growing in holiness than Advent, the “season of expectation”? Christians should have great expectations about what “getting holy” can do for us. Jesus came so that we might have “life to the full” – here and hereafter (John 10:10).
These reflections explore what holiness is. And they offer practical steps for growing into more of it.
What better place to look for the church’s understanding of holiness in the common prayers Catholics have used for centuries? The reflections that follow, while connecting with the Scripture readings for each and remaining focused on Advent and Christmas, incorporate spiritual treasures found in the Angelus, in the Our Father (the prayer Jesus himself taught), in the church’s traditional prayer “Come, Holy Spirit and in the Hail Mary
Paul wrote, “Make the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Our days are also good, as good as they ever have been! God is pouring out his Spirit. If we respond to Pope Francis’s call, our “hearts will be regenerated:’ And through us God “will renew the face of the earth!”
So make the most of the time. Read with the intention of getting practical about following Jesus, who called himself, and really is, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Pursue holiness! Make it your Advent resolution and the gift you bring to the manger at Christmas time.
2 December The First Sunday of Advent
Advent is the promise of holiness
“The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary…” ANGELUS
This is the first day of Advent. What did you wake up to?
What did you wake up to on Christmas morning when you were a child? Joy? Expectation? Something to look forward to? What was it?
As children we really didn’t know. St. Paul says, “When I was a child… I thought like a child… But when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
Then Paul described the fullness of life as loving knowledge of God: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been known:’
This what adults look forward to. This is what Advent promises and Christmas previews. This is the description of holiness: union of mind and will and heart with God.
Christmas is that promise of holiness. Maturity is understanding what that is.
In Advent we wake up to a world filled with promise. A world where God is acting to share himself with us. We step out of bed into a world of divine life.
Expect great things. Believe you can know God.
ADVENT PRACTICE: Remind yourself all day that Christmas is a promise of holiness. Use candles and water, symbols of light and life.
SCRIPTURE: “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made.. ;’ Jeremiah 33:14
3 December Monday of the First Week of Advent
Holiness is surrender
“Let it be done to me according to your word.” ANGELUS
Someone said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you probably won’t get there?’ So if we want to grow in holiness, we do well to identify the goal. What are we really looking for when we try to get holy?
The answer is “union with God.” But in practice that means one thing: surrender.
We learn this from the holiest woman in the world. When asked to do the greatest thing in the world-be the mother of God-Mary answered: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it clone to me ac cording to your word” (see Luke 1:38). When dealing with God, the secret of success is surrender.
Advent becomes Christmas and expectation becomes realization through surrender. We don’t have to be competent, brilliant, or strong. We just have to say, “Let it be… according to your word?’ This is the “Little Way” of Saint Therese: “Have no confidence in yourself; have total confidence in God?”
In baptism we “surrendered our bodies” to be the body of Christ (see Romans 12:1). To be perfectly holy, “full of grace;’ is to be totally surrendered to letting Jesus do with us, in us, and through us – in our bodies – all he desires.
That is the goal. That is what we pray for.
ADVENT PRACTICE See how many times a clay you can make what you do a conscious act of surrender to God.
SCRIPTURE: “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain!” Isaiah 2:3
4 December Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
Holiness is visible
”The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” ANGELUS
When I see a couple with a baby, I like to stop and say, “Congratulations!” No parent has ever found it offensive.
A baby is the visible “word” of its parents’ love made flesh. Parents see in their baby the expression of their mutual love made visible before their eyes, their two lives united in one life. Congratulations are due.
I usually add, “And in the name of the human race, thank you!”
Shouldn’t we all be grateful? Shouldn’t we say it?
It would also be appropriate to say “Thank you!” to all who, through surrender to God in baptism, have given their bodies to be body of Christ: their “flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51).
That is visible holiness.
St. Paul calls Christians “the saints – the holy ones;’ because we “become Christ?’ As St. Augustine said, “Let us rejoice and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand… ? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ!”
Christmas celebrates two words made flesh: God’s loving desire to give life, and Mary’s loving surrender to it: a communal “Yes” to give life to the world, visibly united in Jesus-like that of parents in their baby.
Every baptism is a new Christmas.
ADVENT PRACTICE: When you see holiness, speak, bow or put your hand on your heart.
SCRIPTURE “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see;’ Luke 10:23
5 December Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Holiness is connectedness
“Our Father, who art in heaven…”
People feel a need to connect emails, follow Facebook… each other. We text, phone, send emails, follow Facebook.
Christmas is all about connectedness. Jesus came to earth to make it easier for us to connect, not only with himself as God made human, but with all three Persons. To keep connected is holiness.
We connect with the Father as the Giver of life. He is willing us into existence right now-saying “Beeeeeee…‘ He is holding the note. If not, we would simply return to nothingness.
Begin your day connected with the Father. Say “Our Father in heaven!” As you do, lift up your hand-not just to heaven, but to your head. Touch your forehead, where your brain is, to say you know him. Call him “Father”! God is not just your Creator; he is your Father.
Be aware that God is not just giving you life. He is sharing his own divine life with you. Christmas- the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” – is the favor of sharing in the divine life of God. Because you are “in Christ” you are a son or daughter of the Father “in the Son:’ Begin every day with deep “unitive awareness” of your relationship the Father-an awareness that increases your sense of oneness
with God and others.
That is the way of holiness.
ADVENT PRACTICE: Every time you touch your head today, remember what you know.
SCRIPTURE: “Behold our God…let us rejoice and be glad:’ Isaiah 2 5,9
6 December Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Holiness is praise
“Hallowed be your name!”
Whom do you love? When did you realize it? What keeps you aware of it?
The key word is praise. What we praise we appreciate. What we not praise we do not appreciate. Or will not for long.
Praise your children. Constantly. Praise your spouse, your friends, the people you work with, and the people you pass on the street whenever you can, whenever it is appropriate. Praising transforms life.
Praise God. Does your heart sometimes feel like “a desert and parched land”? Start praising God. “Rejoice with joyful song” and you see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God”(Isaiah 35:1).
That is another step into holiness.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Hallowed be your name!” He was born on Christmas so that we, through reflecting on his words and actions, might know the Father’s name. “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God” (John 17:3).
When we pray “Hallowed be your name!” we naturally ask, “Why?” What is there about God we “honor as holy”? Why should we reverence and praise him? To get the answers is to grow in knowledge of God. It is also growth in “unitive awareness;’ in bonding consciousness. In love. In holiness.
Appreciating God is holiness. Praise helps us get there.
ADVENT PRACTICE Be a disciple (student). Learn about the Father. Read the Bible. Praise God for the good you see. Use words!
SCRIPTURE “Give to the Lord, is good!” Psalm 118:1
7 December Friday of the First Week of Advent
Holiness is dedication
“Your kingdom come!”
In Advent we wake up to a world of promise-where God is acting. We should leap out of bed to be part of it! Jesus has come into the world-into our world-to act with us, in us, and through us to establish the reign of God on earth. We have a mission!
Jesus has us pray, “Your kingdom come?’ Awareness of purpose gives enthusiasm.
We can drive to work planning how to establish God’s reign through what we do. We can come home to the unitive awareness of his presence and peace pervading our family life. Or if not, to the peaceful hope that through him, with him, and in him,
All things are possible: “Jesus, we give you our bodies. Form our family with, in and through all of us. Send forth your Spirit. Our hearts will be regenerated. And you will renew the face of the earth!”
Dedication to mission calls us to hope-to faith-based certitude about what God intends to do on earth, and confidence that we are called to help make it happen. This is a further step into holiness.
to mission brings intimacy with Jesus. “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have from my Father?’ And it brings mutual trust. “I chose you to bear fruit; ‘Jesus said, “fruit that will last” (John 15:16).
ADVENT PRACTICE Consciously pursue your mission in everything you do. With hope.
SCRIPTURE “Fear not… here is your God!” Isaiah 40:9