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State Chaplain 2019 - 2020

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire
December 2019

I never got into watching the popular television series Downton Abbey, but I recently found myself with a free afternoon, and I decided to go to the theater to watch the movie by the same name. I don’t necessarily recommend watching the movie, but there was something about the film that made me think of the season of Advent and our preparation for the coming of Christ into our hearts.

The movie tells the story of a visit of the King and Queen of England to Downton Abbey. That’s the basic gist of the show; the rest has to do with subplots that develop in relation to the royal visit.

What caught my attention was the way everyone at Downton Abbey made preparation for the arrival of the King and Queen. Every square inch--or square centimeter, I suppose--of the mansion had to be dusted. Every surface was cleaned, and every piece of silver polished. Everyone busied themselves with figuring out who would do what tasks and which servants were in charge of what. The overall tone was one of great excitement mixed with some anxiety. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the royal visit was going to be a big deal.

What is our attitude as we prepare for the coming of the Lord at Christmas? Are we busying ourselves with the spiritual housekeeping that is appropriate for the imminent arrival of such a distinguished guest? After all, although the Lord loves us unconditionally, we don’t want to present Him with a heart cluttered with ills: resentments, fears, selfishness, apathy, lust, anger, or any of the rest. Jesus delights to be welcomed into a heart that is clean and pure, ready and eager to receive Him.

Maybe the question I’m getting at is this: Do we see the coming of Jesus at Christmas as a big deal? Does the prospect of welcoming Him cause the same kind of excitement and anxiety as the visit of the King and Queen to Downton Abbey? If not, why not? What can we do to stir up some eagerness? I suggest that making more time for prayer and the celebration of the liturgy during Advent can help boost our zeal for the coming of the Lord.

One other thing I noticed about the movie was that the servants of Downton Abbey, though thrilled to receive the King and Queen, were less than happy to welcome the royal attendants. It turned out that the servants of the royal household (butler, cook, etc.) were coming along with their majesties, and that the staff of Downton Abbey would be expected to take direction from them. And the Downton Abbey staff bristled at the very idea.

It made me realize that sometimes we hold on to the false notion that we can welcome the Lord’s coming without giving Him full access. In other words, we want Jesus to be with us, but we want to keep doing things our own way! We welcome Him on our own terms.

The Church invites us during Advent to pray and work diligently to prepare in our hearts a dwelling fitting for the Lord. She also urges us to realize that the Lord wants not only to be present to us, but also to establish His own order in our life. May we all have the humility to surrender more and more completely to God’s plan, especially in these holy days.

Brothers, I wish you and your loved ones a very fruitful Advent season and a most blessed Christmas!


Vivat Jesus!

Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire
State Chaplain