Militant Monday | Christmas Preparation

  • Posted December 19, 2016

img_20161204_111009-1024x768In this week’s Militant Monday, during the final week of Advent, we address Christmas Preparation, and preparing the way for the Lord into our soul.

Christmas Preparation

 

As we enter the final week before Christmas, what are the proper final preparations before the coming of our Savior?

We read in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 3, verse 4, of John’s mission and preaching of the baptism of penance, and the fulfillment of Isaias 40:3.

“As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight; and the rough ways plain; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

 

Also, Scripture refers to an old custom of ancient times when a king, ruler, or VIP was to enter a town. They would make the road he was to enter on, as straight and smooth as possible. They would level the road, fill the holes, straighten it, etc.

Taking this all together, we see the importance in regard to our personal salvation, as we prepare our soul for the coming of Christ!

In our Christmas Preparation we must:

  • Make the way into our soul as straight and smooth as possible by eliminating sin.
  • Make low the mountains by humbling our pride.
  • Fill the valley by eliminating despair and ending our neglects in which we fail to do what we ought to do.
  • Make smooth, the rough ways of our character.
  • Make straight the crooked ways of our deviousness and lying.

So in our Christmas Preparation, let’s commit to overcoming these sins and faults, and give Christ a worthy path into our soul.

 

Eliminating Sin for Christmas Preparation

Regarding sin and our ability to avoid it, let’s look to the Council of Trent which laid out, the already adhered, church teaching.

First drawing a distinction between mortal sin and venial sin, the Council of Trent taught that it is possible with the ordinary grace of God, to avoid every mortal sin, and never fall into mortal sin.

Of course, this had to be reinforced to counteract the false teaching of Martin Luther and protestant heretics of the time, who taught that we just simply can’t avoid mortal sin, and therefore, its not our fault.

So the Council of Trent taught, YES, it is our fault. Again, because with ordinary grace of God, we can avoid all mortal sin, and that if we do not, it is because we have not used the means to overcome temptation.

Through prayer, the sacraments, and voluntary mortification we can overcome temptation.

On the contrary, through our own disregard and lack of discipline, we deliberately flirt with temptation by not avoiding the unnecessary occasions of sin. So when one falls into mortal sin, they can be sure it is because of one of those reasons. It is voluntary and deliberate. Mortal Sin must be avoided or else the everlasting pains of Hell will result.

Venial Sin

Now when it comes to venial sin, the church teaches on the other hand, that it is not possible to remain free from every venial sin throughout life, unless God were to give an extraordinary grace to someone, as he has perhaps to some saints. Of course, this is the case with our Blessed Mother, who never had not only venial sin, but not even fault. or the failure to do the better thing through out her whole life.

So when it comes to venial sin, we will all commit various venial sins throughout our life because of human weakness. We are certainly still responsible for them, because we choose them, but without a special grace from God, we can not avoid every venial sin.

This is why scripture says that the just man falls several times a day. It’s also why Saint John says in his First Epistle, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Fully Deliberate vs Semi Deliberate

Continuing, there is also a distinction to be made in regard to venial sin.

There are fully deliberate venial sins, and semi-deliberate venial sins.

Fully deliberate venial sins –  We commit these, and make no conscious effort to eliminate them from our life. These are things that we can eliminate, by prayer and effort. However, with a deliberateness, we don’t even care saying, “Eh, it’s just a venial sin.”

Semi-deliberate venial sins – We acknowledge that these are committed, chosen freely, but they are not chosen with full reflection. These are from human weakness and frailty, and not with done with full deliberateness.

Obviously, we must eliminate fully deliberate venial sins, but what about semi-deliberate venial sins?

We must daily strive against these semi-deliberate venial sins, even though we may fall, and get up again, and fall again, and get up again. Sometimes, we will struggle with the same venial sin for a long time, despite our efforts. We can use the advice of St. Alphonsus Liguori to not be discouraged.  He says,

“….Attend, especially, devout soul, to what is commonly taught by masters of the spiritual life, who recommend you to have recourse immediately to God after you have fallen, although you should repeat the fall a hundred times in the day. Having done this, do not be disturbed. If you remain discouraged and troubled because of the fault committed, you will scarcely speak to God; your confidence will grow less your desire to love God will grow cold and you will make little or no advance in the way of the Lord. On the other hand, by having immediate recourse to God, asking His pardon and promising amendment for the future, your very faults will help you to advance in divine love. Between friends who sincerely love one another it sometimes happens that when one offends the other and then humbles himself and asks pardon, their friendship becomes stronger than ever. Do you act in like manner with regard to God: let your faults only strengthen the bonds of love which unite you to Him.
5. PRAY IN YOUR DOUBTS.
Whenever you are in doubt about anything -whether it regards yourself or others-act like good friends do who always consult one another in their difficulties. Show the same mark of confidence to God; consult Him; ask Him to enlighten you, that you may decide on what is most pleasing to Him: Put Thou words in my mouth and strengthen the resolution in my heart (Judith 9-18). Lord, make known to me what Thou wouldst have me do, to answer, and I will obey Thee: Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth (i Kings 3-10).”

 

St. Alphonsus also quotes the Venerable Louis de Pont, who used to say: “I have been guilty of many faults; but never without scruple and uneasiness of conscience.”

So in our Christmas Preparation and beyond, we must never be at peace with our sins and faults. And in regard to our semi-deliberate venial sins, our everyday faults, our everyday struggles, this is what God wants us to do, simply to NEVER make peace with those faults.

Never quit, never give up trying, and don’t be discouraged. Even if our fault occurs a hundred times a day, take responsibility, and prepare the way of the Lord.

Reminder: December 24, Christmas Eve, is a day of fast and abstinence. Prepare the way of the Lord!

Last week’s Militant Monday – Mary, Mother of Jesus

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