I was recently in the southwest (El Paso and a bit north in New Mexico), and had a genuine experience of Advent. I stayed at a place that had practically no Christmas decorations, and there was no radio or TV to distract me. It was ideal conditions to experience Advent. Advent is all about looking towards something that hasn’t happned yet. It’s hard to do with all the Christmas decorations around – they try to make the feast day irrelevant, but is it the day that is really the only thing that is relevant. Christmas, in the end, cannot be celebrated until Christmas.

The Usual

It’s wonderful to recognize opportunities that God gives us to grow in virtue, but usually those opportunities are not what we were looking for. The ultimate goal of every person is…. happiness (Aristotle figured it out long ago). Now, how to reach it? If you try the direct approach (wealth, power), you will be sadly disapointed in the end. The tried and true method is virtue, and the most important virtues (faith, hope, and charity) are given supernaturally–they cannot be obtained by simply practicing virtue. Still, they involve practicing virtue. Growing in virtue is not, per se, “fun.” Nonetheless, this is the “usual” path to holiness.