We spoke to Father Lukasz Plata about how to prepare for Christmas and what is most important at this time.
Father Lukasz Plata is a lecturer in moral theology at the Catholic University of Lublin and the originator of the EvangeliBus – a bus which travels to the faithful so that they can experience the power of the Holy Spirit in their community during evangelisations, workshops, retreats and missions.
There are only a few days left until Christmas. How can we use them to live this festive season well?
It won’t be any original thought if I say to use this last time first and foremost to let Jesus be born in our hearts. As Advent draws to a close, it is a final call to conversion, an invitation to prepare ourselves and, together with Mary, await the Child of God. Therefore, in order to experience Christmas in full joy and peace of heart, the most important thing is Holy Confession, the Sacrament of Penance after which, with a pure heart, you can receive Jesus in Holy Communion. I also encourage you to open the Gospel and read the Word of God. And if anyone hasn’t yet been, it might still be worth going to a roorata in these days before Christmas.
Do we spend too much time shopping, cooking, looking for presents, and forget a little about the religious dimension of this Christmas?
This is something of a problem of the times we live in – the rush, the pace of life. Christmas offers a chance – against these trends – to stop and focus on the spiritual dimension of Christmas. We do not reject the giving and gift-giving because, when the fullness of time has come, God in his infinite love has given us the greatest gift we can imagine – his Son, Jesus Christ. However, it is also important to give the gift of joy, love and affection. It is far more important to have peace, love, joy and concord than expensive gifts given to loved ones. The memories of Christmas in the family home, which were experienced in an atmosphere of joy and love, stay in the heart forever, while presents become boring and lose their importance quite quickly.
Many people no longer care about Christmas traditions. Should we cherish these Christmas traditions?
Traditions convey certain truths in a very simple and symbolic way. The breaking of the wafer, the Christmas tree, making wishes, carols or the Midnight Mass – in them is written our history and faith, which we pass on to the next generation. It is, in a way, our duty and an opportunity to experience Christmas in a Catholic rather than a secular way.
What should Christmas bring to us Catholics spiritually?
Christmas, should in us Catholics, bring to life the faith and certainty that God is with us because he is faithful in his promises. He announced through the Prophet Isaiah “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, that is, God with us” (Is 7:14). It has happened, ever since the Nativity of Jesus in the stable of Bethlehem, God is always on our side – it is worth reminding ourselves of this!
What would you wish the staff and students of Vincent Pol University, and all people, for the coming festive season?
I would wish you joy that is not only born every day, but is also reborn. We need that joy that comes to us with the newborn Jesus.
Interviewed by: Edyta Pać
Photo: Father Łukasz Plata’s archives