Many people may remember the movie Fireproof released in 2008 with Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea. Along with the themes of fidelity to vows, communication, and establishing and building a personal relationship with the Lord, there also lies the reality that our lives are not fireproof if we don’t respond to grace, ask for it, and strive to rid ourselves of the kindling that can affect our lives and those around us to crumble or go up in flames.
The Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent in this Cycle Year C, begins with our Lord speaking to His disciples: “Be aware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of life … Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent…” (cf. Lk 21:34-36) He is speaking of His return and for us to be alert and ready as soldiers are when they must make the night watch while the rest of the troop is resting.
The Church gives us this beautiful penitential season to stop, look, and listen. To stop for a moment a day to recognize our sonship with the Father and to see our lives in His hands. To look and examine where our lives are not fireproof from sinful habits and the anxieties of life entering into our hearts and affecting our actions, relationships, and future. To listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow the inspirations He gives us and to receive the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Life is not easy. Jesus never said it would be. But He did promise that He is with us always until the end of time and that He will give us the grace we need to walk with Him, especially when we cannot see clearly the road He is taking us on.
The Collect from Thursday is a fitting prayer for us all:
Stir up your power, O Lord, and come to our help with mighty strength, that what our sins impede the grace of your mercy may hasten.
May God bless us with this grace.
-Sister M. Stephania, FSGM