Advent 2022: Sounds of the Season

– Br. Michael, ofm                 

When I was a child, my bedroom was at the top of the stairs which lead up from the kitchen. For years I woke up to mom and dad in the kitchen getting ready for the day and the radio playing songs (still on the same station to this day). I can’t recall if any of the songs I heard lofting up the stairs to my room had an impact on me, yet what they always felt like was an invitation to leave the womb of my room and join the day.


Each day we are surrounded by sounds and noise. Some we tune out, others when upon hearing them we quiet down to listen up and still others happen without much attention from us. Advent is an opportunity to pay attention. What sounds and songs are speaking to us? Which ones have become just noise? Which ones are inviting us to leave our surroundings to encounter our God in the unexpected during this short, holy and busy season?


Whether this season is a mad rush or has plenty of space to be, songs will loft into our space and invite us to pay attention. Carols play above us in grocery stores and shopping centres, we find radio stations to match our moods, and our playlists will bring us comfort and joy. The invitation of songs this season is to let the words speak to our heart the messages of hope, peace, joy and love. These become the foundation for the year ahead not just in the moments of the season, when these words are most on our mind.


Music has long been a gift for me, although I do not play an instrument, music gets under my skin and into my bones, awakening my soul. I have found music wraps itself around my heart and calls me to pay attention, or in Advent terms to “Keep Awake.” Christmas Carols bring me great delight and yet over the past few years I have found Advent Hymns have reclaimed their place in this season. Instead of rushing to carols for the whole month of December I often find myself lingering with Advent Hymns. Whether that is humming O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, or listening to People Look East or singing Listen, My People, I am invited into the waiting of this season and I find my heart eagerly looking forward to the coming celebrations.


Jeanne Hunt has written a beautiful Advent Prayer, which in part prays: In night’s quiet, when we have time and silence to think, the songs of this season come drifting into our minds. In the quiet they are welcomed, and our spirits somehow delight in this sweet Advent time.


May our spirits delight in this season with hymns and carols and sounds as we journey the road to Bethlehem. Throughout this season I will recommend some Advent Hymns (and a maybe a few Christmas Carols too!) for reflection. May they loft into your space, into your mind and and invite you to join the day meeting God in the unexpected.


For your listening and heart reflection as we journey in this First Week of Advent:


The King Shall Come – Trevor Thomson

A beautifully haunting reflection on the twofold nature of Christ coming among us in Bethlehem and Christ coming again.


What are you longing for?

Where are you noticing light as winter settles in?


Blessed Be the Lord – The Dameans

This folk tune is scripted from the Canticle of Zechariah. The words of praise Zechariah gave when John (the Baptist) was born, the precursor of Christ.


What promises keep you grounded?

How is hope defined in your life?


As we step into this Advent Season,

may are ears attune to the message of hope,

and may the sounds and songs of the season guide us on the way

as our God comes to us in unexpected ways.



Advent Blessings!





Photo Credit: Rod Flores

Remembered in the Kingdom

– Br. Michael, ofm                 

Jesus remember me

when I am your kingdom focused and when I am not,

when I radiate your goodness and when I do not,

when I love well and when I can not.


Jesus remember me

when I cry out in anguish,

when I declare in joy,

when I whisper in concern.


Jesus remember me

when I am your hands and feet and when I am not,

when I see with your eyes and when I do not,

when I hear with your ears and when I can not.


Jesus remember me

when I raise my eyes to heaven,

when I lower my eyes in shame,

when I close my ears in fear.


Jesus remember me

when I am a reflection of you and when I am not,

when I shepherd in your ways and when I do not,

when I break bread with others and when I can not.


Jesus remember me

in your kingly ways of love,

in your gentle shepherd ways of compassion,

in your resurrected cross of life.


Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.


Your kingdom come…

now in this moment and the next,

tomorrow and then again,

into my heart each day.


Your kingdom come…

in the way I live,

in the words I speak,

in the worth I carry.


Your kingdom come…

with true justice for all,

with the respect and dignity you showed,

with freedom in the letting go.


Your kingdom come…

during the dark and trying times,

when all seems right around me,

as suffering and anguish try to consume.


Your kingdom come…

in pains and hardships,

in quiet and rest,

in wonder and awe.


Your kingdom come…

for it is life-giving,

into my heart now,

and it is already here,

your kingdom come,

your kingdom here.



Photo Credit: Isaac Quesada


– Br. Michael, ofm

Maybe it is because I am in a season of farewells or maybe it is because we have begun the final descent of the year, but those who inspire me have been on my mind as of late. I’m always amazed at the people who intersect with my living. Those who provide me with an insight, a new way, an encounter with the divine or a breath of fresh air. God must delight in these moments when we realize how another has led us to a deeper truth of not only ourselves but also of God’s deep and intimate love.

In the past four months I have stood at the graves of both my Grandmothers as we buried them and prayed at the grave of a childhood neighbour. Three remarkable women who impacted my life greatly, not just with their faith but also with the way they embraced the journey which was theirs to walk. Each one unique with each one being a light for my path. The way they lived was an encounter with our living God; I always felt seen, heard and loved. I heard stories of days gone by and hopes they continued to live with and navigate. Their eyes were fixed not on themselves but on those who shared the journey with them. These three women inspired me and will continue to do so as I carry on with my own walk.

I have also been considering others who have inspired me. Some for a season of my life – like a creative babysitter or the mom of a high school friend or a few former teachers. I consider those who are newer to my life walk such as colleagues, friends, friars and retreatants who have introduced me to new ways in seeing the beauty of God, the daily divine encounters and to what my living means when reflected from the encounter with another. I consider those who are with me for a life time; my closest friends who are from diverse backgrounds and lived experiences and how each awakens me to God’s voice. I consider those who have companioned me on my spiritual journey; who through their relationship with God have encouraged me to see the gifts born of own relationship with God. I consider those who have raised me – my parents, relatives, even my siblings; as they gave me shelter and a place to grow, dream, stretch, “freak out” and become who I am. These mentioned few and several others have inspired me and when I stop to think about it inspiration comes to hope. Jesus said, “by your endurance you will gain your souls” (Luke 21.19). I read this as encouragement and motivation, for endurance and hope are indeed the fruits and strengths of inspiration. Endurance is laced with hope and in this we live and move and have our being as children of God. Inspiration comes in many forms with many people. Where are you noticing it? How is God nudging you to pay attention to what and who is inspiring you? Let us be attentive this week and let us be inspired again.





Photo Credit: Jacob Campbell




Advent at the Mount

Weekend Advent Retreat – 

“Advent Hope: Life Worth Living” 

December 2 – 4                       $215 

with Friar Joshua and Friar Michael


Our world continues to be bombarded with messages faster and louder.

How many speak of hope? How many speak of the gift of life?


Advent gives us a chance to recalibrate and align our living

in hope and life-giving ways.


Register with Linda and Russ Nicol    403-932-1804



Advent Twilight Retreat

– “An Evening with St. Nicholas”

Tuesday, December 6                                 $30 each        $15 youth ages 12-17

Registration at 6:00 pm      Supper at 6:30 pm


Enjoy a hearty homecooked meal followed by a guided reflection,

time for quiet and moments of shared prayer.

Consider attending as a family (ages 12+)

Consider gifting this Twilight Retreat to a friend or family member. 

Register at – 403-932-2012 or




Advent Day Away – “Pregnant with the Divine”

Wednesday, December 7               $30

Registration 8:40 am

The day begins with homemade muffins, includes a reflection,

time for quiet, Eucharist, a home-cooked noon meal,

prayer prompts and closing ritual.

Consider gifting this Day Retreat to a friend or family member. 

Register at – 403-932-2012 or



Advent – Winter Stillness Retreat

Friday, December 9 –  Sunday, December 11                $215


A quiet weekend, the perfect gift in a busy season. Come and rest.

Delicious meals to nourish your body,

liturgical prayer to nourish your heart,

quiet and nature to nourish your soul.

No scheduled presentations. Prayer and reflection resources available.

Arrival after 4 pm. Orientation and supper at 6 pm.

Register at – 403-932-2012 or





The Joy of Greccio: 

A St. Francis Christmas Pageant

Sunday, December 11


St. Francis of Assisi began the popular tradition of re-enacting the Christmas story in Greccio, Italy. Mount St. Francis has held the Greccio Christmas pageant since 2006. We are excited to welcome you back for this in person outdoor pageant.


          2:15 pm – 5:00 pm – Snacks and Hot Chocolate 

          Pageant at 4:15 pm 


Accepting non-perishable food  

and cash donations for the Cochrane Food Bank.