As a high school moral theology teacher, and especially after a tumultuous political season, I’m deeply invested in whether my students gain a solid understanding of a consistent Catholic ethic of life—which recognizes the human person’s inalienable dignity from womb to tomb. Whatever their future vocation, I hope they retain a deep-in-their-bones conviction that all human life, and indeed all of God’s creation, has profound value that must be nurtured and protected.
For over 2000 years, the Catholic Church has proclaimed that every human person has inherent dignity and inestimable worth. Though one of the greatest gifts handed down to cultures and societies across history, this proclamation is perhaps the most audacious the Church announces in the modern world. Amidst the violence and chaos of the world, the Church consistently calls on each one of us to recognize and act in accordance with the dignity of each and every human being, from conception to natural death. Catholic school educators, regardless of the subject they teach, have a responsibility to inculcate this fundamental belief in their students.
“What are you discussing as you walk along?”
During Lent a few years ago, I decided to reflect intentionally on the questions of Jesus. By that, I mean the questions that Jesus asks as recorded in the gospels. It turns out he asks a lot of questions, and not a single one of them is innocuous. What I discovered is that if we are willing to hear him, his questions will jolt us, surprise us, trouble us, and potentially even transform us. The only thing that is guaranteed to not happen if you let Jesus ask you questions is that you will remain comfortable. And so my Lenten practice turned out to be quite uncomfortable—beautifully and wonderfully uncomfortable.
This Thursday, December 17, the Church will begin praying what are known as the “O Antiphons” each evening during Vespers, or Evening Prayer. Outside of Vespers, the O Antiphons are more familiar in their adapted form as the verses for the quintessential Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
It’s no secret that Advent will look different this year than in years past. Take advantage of the extra time at home with your family to intentionally prepare your hearts for the birth of Christ. Below are four ways to celebrate Advent in your home.