Far too often I set an audacious goal, feel overwhelmed, and give up on it. A couple weeks later I often think back and realize that if I had just taken one small step each day, rather than trying to tackle the whole goal at once, I would have already accomplished the goal, and then some.
In previous years I have approached Liturgical seasons such as Advent in the same way. I thought I would do something like pray the Liturgy of the Hours three times a day, AND pray a Rosary, AND spend an hour in Eucharistic adoration, AND read a book of the Bible each day.
Prior to Advent I would only do a small fraction of these things so the sudden onslaught of prayer became overwhelming to work into my day, and I gave up on most of it pretty early in the season.
Now I realize that doing something small each day, with consistency, does a lot more to enrich my spiritual life during Advent than big, audacious efforts.
There are 25 days in Advent. Do something small each day and you will get great spiritual preparation for the Christmas season without becoming overwhelmed!
Here are four simple ideas of what you can do to make Advent a fruitful season of prayer:
1. Give Up Something Small
We think of Lent as being the time for sacrifice, but it is a beneficial practice for Advent as well.
You could give up something specific for the duration of Advent, or you could make an effort to give up something that you would otherwise enjoy each day.
Perhaps it is the second cup of coffee in the morning, or the cookie after lunch, or watching a favorite tv show at night.
Denying yourself a small pleasure each day will help remind you of the hunger and anticipation for the coming of Christ at the end of Advent.
2. Read a Chapter of Luke each day
What better way to anticipate the celebration of the birth of Christ than to spend some time reflecting on the entirety of His life?
The Gospel of Luke has 24 chapters. Read one chapter each day. It will only take four or five minutes a day and it will walk you through everything from the angel telling Mary about the conception of Jesus through His death, resurrection, and ascension.
3. Learn Something
You do not have to read a theological masterpiece to learn more about the faith. Take a few minutes each day and watch a short video from a fantastic website like Fr. Robert Barron’s Word on Fire, or even watch videos of the pope’s activities for the day.
It does not have to be much. Either of these will get you more in touch with the Faith and with the daily life of the Church, and over the course of 25 days they will build up healthy, faithful habits
4. Join the 25 Days of Advent Inspiration
CatholicRetreats will be providing a series of daily e-mails during Advent to provide you with a bit of inspiration each day, including:
- Unique prayers that you may not be familiar with
- Short reflections for the Advent season
- Maybe even a few surprises along the way!
What are you planning to do to get the most out of your Advent? Let us know in the comments below.