Advent: Heaven’s Descent, Our Ascent
We look up to the heavens and wonder, “How will I ever get there?” To try to answer that question we’d most likely admit, “By doing good works, of course.” However, if getting there is based on things we do then the source of our salvation is ourselves and we wouldn’t need salvation to begin with. You have to ask the difficult question, “How can the answer come from the one in need of the answer?” Try telling a drowning person to simply swim better so he won’t drown! Simply put, the earthly cannot attain the heavenly, but the heavenly can attain the earthly. Salvation cannot just end in heaven; it must begin there. And when it does and descends to earth, we on earth gain the possibility of ascending to heaven.
Our Advent day of recollection will prepare us for heaven’s descent in the infant savior in the celebration of Christmas. It will move us from simply thinking we can merit heaven by works, to accepting the unconditional and vulnerable love in the coming of Jesus. Guided by Fr. Nicholas Amato.
Our Friends Day of Prayer retreats are held monthly on the first Wednesday of the month. Everyone is welcome to attend and you can drop into any month. It’s not required to attend every retreat. Everyone will gather for coffee and pastries for the first half hour. Fr. Nicholas will give a morning presentation, and then will celebrate Mass in the Chapel afterwards. A delicious lunch will be served and then he will give an afternoon presentation. Free time will be offered to walk the labyrinth, spend quiet time in prayer or shop in the bookstore.
The guide for our day is Father Nicholas Amato, no stranger to the retreat center. He has been a regular presenter for retreats and days of recollection for many years. He brings with him the experience of 50 years ministering as a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, as a spiritual director, and as an author of several books: Living in God: Contemplative Prayer and Contemplative Action (2016), Moving from Stress to Joy (2018), and Happiness and Joy: Can a Spiritual Life Have Both? (2020). On the idea of hot air balloons, we’d invite you to, “Come fly away.”