The First Sunday

It is here! Advent. We hope that you have a blessed season. Thank you for being a part of our online retreat community.

Silence and moments to recollect are increasingly missing, and increasingly needed in our culture today. Without them, we simply cannot hear God. We hope that  in these couple of weeks we can encourage you to create habits that last beyond this season of Advent. That you take what you have heard from others, and from God, and put it into practice into your day to day lives.

Try not to do too much at once! Habits only grow if you start simply.

If it is hard for you to find half and hour to sit with God, start with 15 minutes. If that is hard, start with five. What is important, is that you start.

Create a quiet space, in the busy-ness of your every day. Speak to Christ. It is important that you learn about Him, ask Him for help, that you thank Him for what He has given you. Then, that you use the fruit of your contemplation to love others in your life.

We have provided the Gospel for each Sunday in both audio and written form.

The Gospels were meant to be heard. Verbum Dei is the Latin phrase for “Word of God” but it means more than that. Verbum is an active word. So to put it simply, it means SPOKEN word of God. When we hear things it has a different effect on us than if we just read something. Spoken words actually become a part of us, part of our being. Therefore,  if we want to become closer to Christ, it is important that the Word of God also becomes a part of us.

Gospel Reading Audio 

Reflection on the Gospel by Sarah McDonald

Click Image to access the reflection sheet

We have provided a number of questions. You dont need to answer them all. They are just a guide. You can pick as many or as few as you wish. It really depends on the time you have through the week and how much time you wish to spend on each. 

Further reading

Here we are listing a number of other resources that you might like to look at. Of course you don’t need to use any at all or even just in Advent! It is mainly for those who wish to delve more deeply into themes or ideas that have been looked into this week.

Click here for the other reading from Mass today.
If you would like to look them up in your own Bible they are:
Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 4:2-7
Palm 80:2-3, 15-16,18-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9

(You can buy these books from anywhere you like –  links are given just for information)
Here are some books that are a good place to start to read the Bible more often and to understand it better.
– Walking with God – A Jouney Through the Bible, By Tim Grey and Jeff Cavins
– Bible Timeline Chart – By Jeff Cavins and Sarah Christmyer
– The Bible Compass – By Edward Sri

Looking into St Therese’s Little way
The way of Trust and Love – A retreat Guided by St Therese of Lisieux – By  Fr Jacques Philippe

Some reading to help with Advent
– Jesus of Nazreth: The Infancy Narritives – By Pope Benedict XVI
– A Child In Winter, Advent Christmas and Epiphany with Caryll Houselander – By Thomas Hoffman

Articles/Blog Posts
– On the idea of fighting the sin of sloth in our culture today. This first article is an easy overview and this second one looks into this issue a little deeper.
– An article that looks at living the will of God from the big picture to the day to day moments
– This Wednesday is the feast of St Nicholas. There are many beautiful traditions surrounding this first ‘Santa Claus’ bishop but we thought it might be a nice idea to give you some ideas for the traditional biscuits to make the day just a little bit special.  [Cooking note: You can usually substitute shortening for butter, you might just get a slight variation in texture. You can also use copha which is the closest substitute.  This one and this one give you some Australian variations which might be easier to start with! Alternatively, gingerbread also works.


Two Podcasts on the practice of Lectio Divina, praying with the scriptures.

Advent Music

Below is a YouTube playlist of Advent music for this week. It is meant to be a tool for prayer, but also can be played through your day to help keep the season in mind. Apologies for any advertisements that may interrupt your listening!

If you would like to receive these reflections in your inbox for each Sunday of Advent click here.