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 | By Scott Bowen

Taking inventory of our interior life

Advent is a wonderful season in the Church. It marks the beginning of the Catholic liturgical year. Advent has a twofold message. First, it prepares us for the coming of the Incarnation as the second person of the Blessed Trinity took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Second, Advent reminds us of the second coming of Christ.

As Advent is penitential in nature, it is an appropriate time to take a personal inventory of one’s relationship with God and neighbor. We are familiar with the long-standing tradition of making a New Year’s resolution. On Jan. 1, people resolve to exercise more frequently, eat a healthier diet, pray regularly, or try to live a decidedly more Catholic life. This Advent season, we can take a moment to reflect on how we may prepare to receive the coming of Christ by taking an inventory of our interior life.

Consider adopting the following practices during Advent:

  • Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving
  • Praying the Rosary
  • Praying the Liturgy of the Hours
  • Daily Scripture reading
  • Corporal works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, or visiting the sick
  • Spiritual works of mercy, such as forgiving offenses, comforting the afflicted, and praying for the living and the dead.

The Benedictus from Morning Prayer declares the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace. May we all have a blessed Advent!

Scott Bowen is a social worker at Catholic Family Services in Birmingham. He holds a master’s of social work degree and is a licensed independent clinical social worker.