Perhaps one of my two readers is saying to himself, "Sounds good, but how do I this?" Here is a bold proposal: Seek to obtain a plenary indulgence, which is a sure and objective way to draw close to Jesus Christ, as a member of His Mystical Body, the Church:
Either today or Monday, 23 December, make a thorough examination of your conscience, then go to confession. After confession, perform your penance, then, while still in the Church, pray a rosary (one full set of Mysteries; 5 decades), and say a Hail Mary and an Our Father for the Pope's prayer intentions. The Holy Father's prayer intentions for this month are: "That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need" and "That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming." Of course, even as you pray for the second intention, you are an answer to Pope Francis' prayer, how cool is that? And then, on the same day, receive Holy Communion. If this is inconvenient, all the better!
I also suggest fasting from after supper the night before until after you receive communion. Finally, make as generous a donation as you can to assist the poor. There are three objective, highly efficacious means of sanctification, we have at our disposal:
1) Three forms of penance: Prayer, Fasting, and Alms-givingWith this proposal, you avail yourself of them all. So, whether you have endeavored to observe Advent, or not so much, this is a way to either bring an observant Advent to a marvelous end, or to avail yourself of the short time you have and to recover from an unobservant Advent.
2) The Sacraments: Penance and Eucharist, along with Anointing of the Sick
3) Indulgences: Plenary and partial
My brothers and sisters, we are to never tire of doing both corporeal and spiritual works. An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sins, the guilt (i.e., eternal punishment= hell) of which has been forgiven in and through the Sacrament of Penance (confession). You will pay the temporal punishment for your sins because your sanctification is not going to happen without you being changed.
The painful transformation we all need to undergo, which is only possible because of Jesus Christ, of necessity, must involve you, be something that happens to you, not apart from you. Hence, you will do it either here, or in Purgatory, assuming you make it there. So, avail yourself of mercy while you can, while it is still today! Opinions to the contrary abound, leading many into complacency and presumption. It bears noting that we can also apply the effects of the indulgences we gain to the souls in Purgatory, which is an act of charity that ought to fill us with awe, but not so much that we don't regularly do it. The authority to grant indulgences is a power, too little drawn upon these days, given to the Church by our Lord Himself,