“Put Jesus First” – #Advent2016 Preparation

star-437519_1280To be honest, I have been so busy preparing for an upcoming evangelization trip that the reality that Thanksgiving is next week and the first Sunday of Advent is the following Sunday has been entirely off my radar! But actually, I am getting ready for a very special Advent, as I prepare for the Advent retreats and missions that I will be leading and participating in during the second and third weeks of Advent in Illinois at several parishes. These two weeks will be a spiritually nourishing change from my ordinary routine, and gives a special evangelization focus to my Advent!

(If you are in Illinois, near Chicago or in the Peoria diocese, you can check out where I’ll be when here.  I’d love to meet you!)

Our sisters at Pauline Books & Media are offering some awesome free resources to help us to make Advent 2016 a true spiritual season. Our theme this year is Put Jesus First! You can find these helpful tools on the web for you and your family!

An entire issue of our Discover Hope newsletter with 5 tips to help your family prepare for Christmas.

An Advent Word of the Day daily inspirational email prepared by our very own Sr. Anne Flanagan, so that we can fully enter into the Advent spirit.

A “Put Jesus First” Advent Planning Guide (sign up here).

A free, inspirational monthly calendar for children that begins with the first Sunday of Advent!


Other free Advent resources:

XT-3’s 2016 Advent Calendar (available online and as an app)

The University of Creighton’s Online Ministries Praying Advent offers wonderful resources for adults–from audio Advent Retreats, to praying with your imagination, to video reflections… This is a site that I visit every so often to download the latest resources!

CatholicIcing.com has some easy, “no preparation required” ideas for family activities for Advent!

IgnatianSpirituality.com has more resources that help us to deepen our spiritual growth in Advent, especially linking the arts to Advent (one of my favorite Advent resources).

Here’s the link to some wonderful ideas for spiritually-nourishing Christmas gifts that our sisters offer for teens and children!



Seven More Advent Resources

What are you doing for Advent?

As Advent begins, I just wanted to highlight a couple of more Advent resources that I think could help us live this beautiful season with more light:

DiscernItScreen1) If you are discerning your vocation, then this Advent is extra special for you! Make a Discernment Novena with a wonderful new app that our sisters have just released:

Deepen your vocational discernment with  Discern It!,  a new, free app from the Daughters of Saint Paul to help those discerning their vocations.

This wonderful little app is a novena that provides the perfect atmosphere for deepening your vocational discernment, to understand how God is calling you to love. With  Discern It!  you will have the opportunity to:

◊ Do something daily to help you discover God’s plan for your life.

◊ Learn how to be more open to the gifts God wants to give you.

◊ Find out ways to move past the hurdles in discernment.

◊ Grow in your intimacy with God.

You can find out more about the app here, which also includes the links to download it for both iPhone and Android. The App is available free for the Year of Consecrated Life.

2. Father Barron is offering free Advent reflections. You can still sign up here.

3. Loyola offers an Arts & Faith commentary for each Sunday of Advent:  The Sunday Scripture reading is paired with a painting or other art, and commentary provided.

4. For religious, the Pope’s Apostolic Letter for the Year of Consecrated Life offers much to reflect on and pray with!

5. Sr. Theresa Aletheia’s post, Five Ideas to Kickstart Your Advent has five helpful hints for anyone.

6. For families, here’s another interesting and helpful post, Ten Ways to Have a Holier Advent.

7. For movie loves and Tolkien fans, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, releasing December 17th, could offer some insight on our Advent journey. The book has my favorite Humble Hobbit Moment–and I’m betting the movie will do a great job with it.

And finally, if you are looking for Advent “starters” and Christmas gifts, our Pauline website is offering special discounts for Cyber Monday (including for my new book, Soul of Christ: Meditations on a Timeless Prayer). Check it out!