During Advent, we should be preparing. During the week of the Immaculate Conception, we should cleanse. A clean interior is at peace with itself.
Break the broken record of wrong thoughts that circulate in your mind like the banner in Times Square.
Only when you do will you find your deepest self.
We must all ask ourselves — our truest selves — questions.
What do we still need to work on? Do we have hidden imperfections — not just outright sin (although certainly cleanse those) but traits or habits that should be cast away? Do we have any shred of narcissism? Pride? What are our thought processes? How often is it negative? How frequently do we think critically of others? How focused are we, in thought, word, and deed, on ourselves?
How honest? How true are we? Do we smile outwardly and frown or scowl inside? (Work at an internal smile; joy is a hallmark of the Holy Spirit).
Do we still have aspects of materialism? Do we yet yearn for more than we need, for luxury, even extravagance? Do we still place others who have wealth above those who do not? Do we measure people according to their cars, homes, money?
If we have wealth, does it make us feel superior?
Do we feel superior about anything (when the Lord requires humility)?
(Are we even proud that we are “humble”?)
Are we in as much control of our eating and drinking as we should be? Do we realize that a key to happiness is (hear this well): discipline?
Questions in search of answers (honest ones), as we seek to purify this precious season. Body, mind, and spirit.
The Pope last week gave advice in this regard.
“The style of the enemy – when we speak about the enemy, we speak about the devil, because the devil exists, he is there! – his style, we know – is to present himself in a devious, masked way: He starts from what is most dear to us and then, little by little, reels us in. Evil enters secretly, without the person being aware of it. And with time, gentleness becomes hardness.”
To unmask Satan’s devious ways, noted a Catholic news blog, the Pope urged an examination of conscience in order to see the “origin and the truth of our thoughts; it is an invitation to learn from experiences, from what happens to us, so as not to continue to repeat the same errors.”
Let us treat this opportunity — this season, this week, especially December 8 — with the specialness it warrants, meditating profoundly on the Virgin’s good counsel and cleanliness. We can’t be defeated, by any force, in any crisis, at any time, with purity in the love of Christ.
[Footnote: Added the Pope: “The more we know ourselves, the more we sense where the evil spirit enters, his ‘password,’ the entrance to our heart, which are the points to which we are most sensitive, so as to pay attention to them in the future.
“Each one of us has their more sensitive spots, the weak spots in their personality: and the evil spirit enters there, and leads us down the wrong path, or takes us away from the true, right path.”]