[gtranslate] Advent with Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) - Eglise Catholique Saint James (Saint Jacques)

Advent with Deus Caritas Est (God is Love)

Advent with Deus Caritas Est (God is Love)

We live in a consumerist culture. This simple fact permeates everything we do—from feeding our families to decorating our homes to caring for loved ones. If we just have the right stuff, we will be able to do these things that much better. We will be that much better. No part of our lives is free from this influence, as various forms of media continually try to feed us the latest hack or gadget. Even our faith lives are not free from this attitude, as we see Catholic shop after Catholic shop offering us everything from artwork to rosaries to books to clothing to home décor.

Don’t get me wrong—I agonize over whether I need a wood cut Jesse Tree set or the felt rosary hanging more than the average person. This desire comes from a good place. I wonder whether this thing will remind me to pray more? Will it help me to make Jesus relatable to my children? Will my kids remember this tradition if I have this more gorgeous set of candles? Something in us thirsts for our faith to be beautiful—not just in our Churches but in our Domestic Churches as well. We thirst for the love of Christ to be visible, noticeable and delightfully a part of our everyday lives—and just maybe, all of the stuff will help.

Somehow, the season most susceptible to this need for stuff is the one meant to highlight the poverty of the God-Man. The gift-giving of Christmas, originally meant to imitate the generosity of the three Kings, has been highjacked, along with our hearts, to make the Christmas season more frantic than any other.  It’s hard to see the true meaning of Christmas—it’s hard to prepare, because of it.

We look to that darkest month of the year and are tempted to try to bring the light through more stuff. And yet, the wisdom of the Church instead points us to a short, penitential season of Advent. Tradition reminds us to prepare our hearts because the Light is coming. The Light of Nations is coming into the darkness. And why? Why, because He loves us.

This beautiful truth has been highlighted and explored in many ways in Church Tradition, but in a particular way for our times in Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, entitled God is Love. Released on Christmas Day in 2005, Benedict chose this for his first major message because he saw how often we forget this truth in the hustle and bustle of our lives. 

However, I would also like to share with you about a small apostolate called Endow, which seeks to make this encyclical just a little more accessible to the average Catholic. Because the Popes are theologians, and though writing for all people, their writings contain a level of wisdom that may be… difficult. More than that, sometimes we struggle to get to the richness of the Tradition on our own. Human beings are meant to live in community—and others’ perspectives can unveil a richness that individual study often cannot reach. Endow has designed its study guides to overcome these two difficulties. It has designed them to bring women especially (but also all people) together in approaching the Tradition of the Church. 

At Endow, we believe that the Tradition of the Church is valuable for all Catholics—that the study guide isn’t just another beautiful book to adorn a shelf, but instead is an invaluable experience that will help you adorn your interior—helping you to prepare for the coming of the Lord in a way that changes you.  In helping people to bring the Tradition into the concrete realities of their lives, an Endow group helps you to see how your experiences are seen by God—how you, in all your mess, are loved by God. For this reason, this Advent, we invite you to invest in this study—to invest in an Endow group—because it might just be the thing that makes a difference.

To learn more about Endow’s study guide on God is Love, please clickhere. To learn more about the Endow apostolate, please clickhere.