The past two years have not been easy for anyone. Aside from other struggles, many have felt the spiritual discouragement that creeps in without regular prayer or attending Mass with your community — without making time for the Lord. Getting back in the habit of caring for your spiritual needs can remove this disconnect and strengthen your relationship with God.
“I beg you with all the energy of my heart not to be afraid of your past failings, but rather to let the memory of them lead you to a great self-knowledge and humility before the Lord and, at the same time, encourage you to trust all the more in our heavenly Father, who is always so ready to welcome, forgive, and help us.”Venerable Bruno Lanteri
Father Peter Grover, OMV, has a message to share about returning to Mass this Advent season. Get in the spirit of the season and prepare yourself for the Lord. Keeping promises is never easy, but you’ve made one to God.
Mass is a powerful way to connect with the Lord and your community. Returning to the Church, whether in person or virtually, can help forge and rejuvenate that connection this Advent season.
Fr. Peter Grover Reflects on Returning to Mass
“Two years ago, I promised to give a spiritual mission to a parish in Florida. At the time, I did not have a crystal ball to see that in two years we would be in the throes of a pandemic. When it was time to book the flight, I did not want to go. COVID-19, unavailable vaccines, mask requirements, and quarantine all made me want to cancel, but I was stuck. I made a promise so I went.
I am glad I did because I met a lot of wonderful people and delivered a message that I think helped the parish.
The Power of a Promise
In the ancient world, the gods never made promises, ever. They were whimsical, free-spirited, and came and went as they pleased. The gods were never “stuck” or forced to do divine tasks because they had made promises. That is until God appeared to Abraham. God made a promise. It was a surprise, even to the Israelites.
So why would God make promises if it would restrict His limitless and free nature? Let’s say you wake up in the morning and tell your kids that you will take them to the movies at night. Later, you come home from work, and you are tired from a very hard day at the job. All you want to do is relax. Just as you get comfortable in the La-Z-Boy, the kids run over and say to you: “Movies, you promised!”
Of course you remember, but you have to ask yourself why you made the promise knowing you would be tired in the evening. The reason is simple. When you promised your kids a movie, you gave them a reason to get excited to see you walk in the door. You gave them a reason to come running to you when you got home. You gave them a reason to want to be with you.
A Promise With God
That is why God makes promises to us. When God says he is slow to anger and rich in kindness, He delivers. To an imperfect person, that is a perfect reason to run to God, a reason to want to be with God all the time, and a reason to never give up on that relationship.
It works both ways. We can also keep promises that we made in our Baptism: to be faithful to Christ, carry the cross, and fulfill his commands. Keeping promises is never convenient. It limits our freedom and reduces our options. But we make them and keep them because we want to give a reason to be loved and sought after.
I know that people are struggling to come back to church after a year of absence. But we made a promise to come together and “do this in memory of Me.” Do it, and the relationship will deepen and the bond will become even stronger than it ever was before. When we return to church after a year or so, we need to have a reason.
At least we will have one thing in common with God–we keep promises.”
The Spirit of Advent
Join us in embracing the true spirit of Advent, taking time to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord this Christmas. How can you renew your relationship with God after a difficult two years? Will you return to Mass? Will you make time for daily prayer or give back to your community?
Join in our celebrations and preparations this Advent season. Let’s prepare the way for the Lord together!
Getting Back in the Habit
As another year draws to a close, our community is reflecting on our promises to God. Through our Annual Fund, the Oblates of Mary are focusing on getting back in the habit of caring for our spiritual needs as a community.
Gifts to the Annual Fund support all of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary’s ministries working to bring about a rebirth of spirituality in today’s world. The Oblates are here to help you keep the promises you’ve made to God and lead a life that reflects those promises.Support Our Work