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‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.”

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“Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Watchfulness is a way of embracing every virtue — it is the heart’s commandment of stillness and, when free from mental images, it is the guarding of the intellect.

There are four types of watchfulness:

The first type closely scrutinizes every mental image or provocation — for only by means of a mental image can the devil fabricate an evil thought and insinuate this into the intellect in order to lead it astray.

The second type frees the heart from all thoughts, keeping it profoundly silent and still, and in praying.

The third type continually and humbly calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ for help, while the fourth type makes us constantly cognizant of death.

These types of watchfulness serve us our doorkeepers and bar our entry to evil thoughts. Guard our mind and we will not be harassed by temptations. But if we fail to guard our minds, accept patiently whatever trial comes.”

Today is the first Sunday of Advent — which means to prepare and to welcome in expectation for. It came from the Latin word ‘Adventus’ — which literally means ‘coming’ — the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. During this season, we are reminded of the need to be watchful and vigilant. Life is short, and death is certain.

Our hope is that we are not caught unprepared, and be filled with much regret that we did not live well and did not love enough when death finally arrives.

Today also ushers Christmas — the season of hope. We have to embrace the thought that the image of the judgment day is not an image of fear, but an image of hope, of grateful anticipation —- our comfort and our yearning. Bill Keane said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

We plea for God’s grace hoping that His grace will give us the strength to face our challenges everyday — but more important — the big face-off with Him someday.

Christmas just like Easter is a period of atonement and self-introspection — a time for reflection and for us to look deeply into our lives. We have to prepare for His coming, just like preparing for a VIP invited to our party. We must make it our opportunity to look beyond the present moment and set-up our place in His kingdom.

Dear Lord, make us stay awake and be on our guard always. May we be constantly reminded that if we stay wakeful and live in faith and hope of Christ’s coming we will enjoy the fullness of life with God in eternity. As we pray daily in the Our Father: “May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Amen.

Need For Watchfulness Mk 13:33-37

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