“Advent is the time we are given to welcome the Lord who comes to encounter us, and also to verify our longing for God, to look forward and prepare ourselves for Christ's return.”

– Pope Francis

My parents will be moving to a new home for the exciting next chapter of their lives. Though the house they are leaving is not the one we grew up in, they still have spent more than a decade there and have lots of things they have been keeping in storage. Since the "For Sale" sign went up, they have begun the overwhelming process of discarding, donating, and determining homes for everything else they aren’t taking with them. We like to tease my dad that he is like the main character in the movie Shawshank Redemption, who tunnels to freedom by digging a hole in his prison cell with a spoon and disposing of the dirt subtly by walking around the prison yard and shaking it out of his pant leg. He will stop over “to say hi” and suddenly we will be blessed with a gently used exercise ball that we didn’t know we had (or needed). My son Peter “discovered” tiny, pewter statues of all the presidents in our basement that looked very similar to the ones I remember from my childhood. At some point, I declared that I might need to set up a customs station before he entered the house.

But on the last trip he dropped off a file folder full of “important Danny records.” Exasperated at first with more stuff, I opened the file to find that my parents kept every single report card and, along with them, the certificates and programs from all of my sacraments. As I reminisced with my children and compared my report card to theirs, our first observation was that I wasn’t as smart as I told them that I was. The second observation came from one of my children who noticed that I made my first confession 33 years ago that day.

As my children teased me for “how far I’ve come” in my grades, I was grateful for my parents’ sweet record keeping. I also couldn’t help but wonder how far I’ve come sacramentally since the dates on those records. I track grades, expenses, time off, and weight. Do I ever stop to track how I’m growing in my discipleship? While faith is a lifelong and non-linear journey, how do I remember and grow from the moments of grace and encounter? There’s an old adage that I believe holds true in all aspects of life, even faith: “What gets measured, gets managed.” I decided that I would add those sacramental dates to my Outlook calendar and do the same for my children so that we could have different times throughout the year to celebrate God’s goodness, reflect on where we are in our relationship with Him and where He wants us to go. As we continue this Advent season of preparation, let's make sure to not only countdown to Christmas but also keep track of how we are growing in readiness for His coming.

Prayers as you celebrate all the anniversaries of grace in your life this season.

by Daniel Cellucci

December 08, 2023

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