J1ST 098: Advent Book Study on Interior Freedom


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Welcome back from our Thanksgiving break and welcome into Advent! We hope you had a beautiful "Turkey Day" and that the first week of Advent has been somewhat peaceful and prayerful.

During Advent, we will be doing a three part series on the tiny but powerful book, Interior Freedom, by Fr. Jacques Philippe. If you don't have it yet, you can grab it here and join in on the fun. For this episode, we focused on the first section (through pg 81). Even if you don't plan on reading the book at all, this episode still has something to offer and we'd love for you to tune in.

We picked this book for Advent because this time of year is full of expectations. Expectations others have of us. Expectations we have of others. Expectations we have of ourselves. Besides all the normal busyness of life, there is all that Needs to Be Done to get ready for Christmas. All these expectations can make us feel penned in and frankly a little grumpy (especially if you are an introvert!!! All the gatherings this time of year are EXHAUSTING).

Enter Fr. Jacques little book on Interior Freedom. We have limited control to no control on what happens exteriorly, but interiorly, we can choose how we react, interpret, and respond.

To illustrate, Father tells a little story about St. Therese (one of his favorite saints who he mentions quite frequently in his writing). St. Therese was often given involved tasks to complete within her community... things that required concentration. Before beginning such a task, she would tell Jesus, "I choose to be interrupted." In this way, she could lovingly accept interruptions from her sisters and if she was able to work for an entire focused hour or even two, she could thank God for the gift of that time.

There were a few quotes we both loved from this first section of the book:

No circumstance in the world can ever prevent us from believing in God, from placing all our trust in him, from loving home with our whole heart, or from loving our neighbor. (p24)

Our freedom always has this marvelous power to make what is taken from us- by life, events, or other people- into something offered. Externally there is no visible difference, but internally everything is transfigured. (P57)

We are not always masters of the unfolding of our lives, but we can always be masters of the meaning we give them. Our freedom can transform any event into an expression of love, abandonment, trust, hopen and offering… positive things become a reason for gratitude and joy, negative things an opportunity for abandonment, faith, and offering: everything becomes a grace. (P58)

During the season, let us turn our little annoyances, distractions, and disappointments into opportunities to accept and offer it all to the Baby Jesus.

Your sisters in the small things

Nancy and Katie

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