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Holy Father Urges Faithful to ‘Keep Watch and Pray’

‘We not only wait for Christmas, we are Invited to Reawaken the Expectation of Christ’s Glorious Return’

Pope Francis portrayed Advent as a time to “keep watch and pray” in his December 2, 2018, reflection before praying the noonday Angelus with the crowd of 20,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

“Advent begins today, the liturgical season that prepares us for Christmas, inviting us to raise our eyes and to open our heart to welcome Jesus,” the Pope said. “During Advent, we not only wait for Christmas, we are invited to reawaken the expectation of Christ’s glorious return — when He will return at the end of time — preparing ourselves for the final encounter with Him with consistent and courageous choices. ”

The Holy Father explained that during the four week’s of Advent, Christians are called “to come out of a resigned and habitual way of living, and to come out nourishing hope, nourishing our dreams for a new future”. It is a time to nourish hopes for the future. He stressed the importance of keeping watch and praying.

“Advent invites us to a commitment of vigilance, looking outside of ourselves, widening our mind and heart to open ourselves to the needs of people, of brothers, and to the desire of a new world. It’s the desire of so many peopled, martyred by hunger, injustice, and war,” Francis continued. “It’s the desire of the poor, of the weak, of the abandoned. This time is opportune to open our heart, to ask ourselves concrete questions on how and for whom we spend our life.”

The Holy Father warned against focused on consumerism during the season. He alerted listeners to the danger that in getting caught up in what gifts to gift and what one hopes to receive, there is the danger of missing Jesus. It is important to be “on guard against letting ourselves be oppressed by an egocentric lifestyle or by the convulsive rhythm of the days”. 

The Holy Father’s Full Commentary

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