I heard more than one homily this weekend about the seemingly doom-and-gloom readings and Gospel for the start of Advent but all were sobering reminders of the need to remain vigilant. We can be seduced by the things of this world without even realizing it. Even the necessary activities of our daily lives can be traps if we aren't careful. Many is the time I have to remind myself that in every thought, word and deed I must be mindful of the will of God and not let pass a single opportunity to serve Him.
Sometimes, we are so accustomed to reacting to certain situations in a particular way that we become insulated from our own faults. Luckily, I have some live-in critics (kids) who are quick to let me know if they find any behavior on my part less than Christian. On Thursday, we had a guest who joins us every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas because he has no other place to go. While I was serving the turkey and the 10 sides dishes that went with it, he asked me a detailed question about something that I told him I would answer a little later because I was too consumed with getting everything on the table. My oldest pointed out later that I should have been a little more patient in the way I responded. I would have to say looking inward that impatience is probably one of my biggest faults, and what a selfish one it is. Impatience means I still haven't learned to put myself aside and that I haven't relinquished my attachment to my own will.
None of us are perfect, but we're not excused from trying. And every time I think I have conquered some other fault, I am enlightened to the fact that I have plenty of others. Before I hang a single decoration or bake a single batch of cookies, I pray for God to give me the strength to lose myself more and more every day so that I may be a worthy instrument of His Holy Will.