Christmas, the Giving of Self OFS Advent Recollection By Cristina Teehankee

P1140860We refer to Christmas as the season of giving and party celebrations. Most of us try hard to prepare party food that we often like to eat rather than the food friends and family would want to eat, say our Recollection Master, Fr. Reu Jose C. Galoy, OFM Parish Priest during the OFS Advent Recollection held November 17 at Munting Kanlungan, the Prayer House of OFS professed member, Sis Lily Manalo in Tagaytay City.

Fr. Reu summarized our Advent preparation for the coming of Christ in key words that allowed the Secular Franciscans to grasp its meaning:
1) Prayer – is being aware of God. Every creature is a representation of God. We therefore must be authentic and sincere to where God assigned us to be to be Christ to others.

2) Listen – When we listen, we are not an empty space. The way we listen is normally picked up by who we are and the way we are. But rather we should listen to the way God wants His message to be conveyed to us in an atmosphere of prayer.

3) What is it that our Lord Jesus wants us to give – not necessarily material things but may be time, attention, forgiveness, visiting the sick, talent, treasure, service, self.
4) Move out of our comfort zone where necessary as our blessed Mother Mary set up herself serving Elizabeth.

In summary, prayer leads us to listen to God as He invites us to give the highest form of giving, the giving of self. The Theology of the Incarnation is the expression of God’s love for us in giving Himself to us through Jesus.

God is the one who is at work in us. We open our head – heart – hand in preparation for Advent and welcome Jesus to do His project and work through us. Our life is a continuous preparation to receive Jesus using our head-heart-hand.

There is an invitation for us to provide a home for Jesus. Jesus did not have a home and was born in a manger. Can we create a home for Jesus in our heart, Jesus’ home? How are we going to prepare our heart to be a home for Jesus? What’s in our heart to make it a most precious place?

Our home needs hospitality that will include the hand. It is our hands who do the job. Work collectively to make the environment of our home hospitable and respectable in the spirit of friendship. Our code of conduct in the Parish should be a hand of hospitality to be a helping hand to others. Doing this gives hope to humanity. The Manger is our hope.

The Manger reveals that we all are not perfect. The coming of Jesus is not because we are sinful. But because of God’s love for all of us. Jesus is the crowning glory of God’s creation. If we are not perfect, I can still be a better person.

Let us prepare our head-heart-hand for the coming of Jesus “fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10)