So often, I can have a ho-hum attitude (another Advent, another Christmas!) and time flies by. What a contrast to the centurion in the Gospel. The Centurion comes himself; he does not send a delegation or a middle man. Mindful and caring of his servant, he begs Jesus for an immediate cure. He believes that Jesus’ word alone is sufficient. And, of course, Jesus does cure the servant.

Can I beg that during this Advent season my faith will increase so that I can be attentive to Jesus’s word in my life today and each day of this reflective season?

Can I go to Jesus today and not put off my plea until I get so busy with the excitement, activity, and noise of the holiday season that, despite my best intentions, I experience another ho-hum Advent?

St. Ignatius offers us the daily examen as a daily way of tracking my attentiveness to the mystery and excitement of Jesus’s coming at Christmas. The examen is a simple tool to make this Advent different. Each day we can take five minutes to be alone with the Lord and recall how we have sought his activity in our lives, and how we hope to encounter him in the spirit of Advent.

Daily asking the question How have I prepared today for Jesus’s coming? heightens my awareness of opportunities to deepen my faith in God at work in the world, and how God calls me to participate in that work. An Advent of taking advantage of such opportunities to bring Jesus more fully into my world will be a season to remember.

—Fr. John Libens, S.J. is superior of the 69 retired Jesuits living at Colombiere Center, Clarkston, Michigan. This Jesuit Community prays each day for the special intentions of those making prayer requests to