So um, still behind on the Advent Retreat. And falling moreso…BUT.
We made it to that all-important Holy Day of Obligation Mass. I emailed Jeff that morning and told him that if God-willed it, it would happen. Mass was an hour after work and it’s about 30 minutes from work home to get the boys and then like 20 minutes back to either of the closest parishes. We made it with four minutes to spare. We got a parking space and seats (which kind of bummed me out, but I hoped the earlier Mass and the Vigil were fuller). We weren’t at our parish but, we made it to Mass. The joy cannot be understated.
This was after I managed to throw together a last minute St Nicholas Day together for the kids that they all ended up being thrilled with.
So, Confession. I had to get it in at least once this Advent. And so we came to Saturday. Confession at 3 or 3:30 depending on the parish. We had plans to visit my mother-in-law out of town. We ended up leaving a little late, making more and longer stops than anticipated and stayed longer. Then, on the way home, we encountered multiple detours due to a Christmas parade. Joseph was getting nervous in the backseat and I was thinking, here we go we can’t go next weekend, we won’t make it :(. That’s when Jeff suggested dropping us off at the next parish (known as parish 2 of 3, with our parish being 1 of 3…we were at 3 of 3 for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception) that also has a Perpetual Adoration chapel and he would pick us up in an hour.
So we got there within 10 minutes of the start time and were #2 and #3 in line. I can’t speak for Joseph but I had a wonderful Confession. The priest gave me, for my Penance, to pray and meditate on the 1st Joyful Mystery of the Rosary: The Annunciation. Joseph and I went to the Adoration Chapel and I prayed the entire Joyful Mysteries but I did spend extra time on that First Mystery. After finishing, I opened my copy of Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI. When what to my wondering eyes should appear…but the section on the Annunciation of the Birth of John immediately followed by the Annunciation to Mary. I don’t believe in coincidence, but the Holy Spirit has more than proved itself to me many times.
As I read, I was jolted by Papa Benedict’s speaking of John as much an Old Testament as New Testament “character” as it were. He mentioned how Zechariah and Elizabeth were not unlike many previous couples in the Bible, infertile and promised a son. He quoted God speaking to Sarah in Genesis:
Is there anything too marvelous for the Lord to do?
It so beautifully mirrors Gabriel’s response to Mary as she wondered how “this” was to be:
“…for nothing will impossible for God.”
I almost laughed out loud. Of course we made it to Mass, of course we made it to Confession. We were striving for what was holy and trusted God and of course!!! The Holy Spirit has the most amazing sense of humor. I kept on reading.
And the Holy Spirit showed up. Again. I read how instead of the typical Hebrew greeting of “Shalom,” Gabriel greeted Mary instead in the Greek “Chaíre” or “Hail/Rejoice.” And being that we were fast approaching the vigil for Gaudete Sunday…
And now we’ve celebrated Our Lady of Guadalupe. Well, this Advent might not be one where I accomplish all I set out to, but it certainly is a fruitful one nonetheless.