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As we enter into the season of Advent, we are given the image of a mountain in the first reading. “In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills.” I went online and tried to figure out what the highest mountain was, and by all accounts, it was Mount Everest. As I was reading and studying about people who climbed Mount Everest, the first people that ever climbed it was back in the early 1950s, in that era. It was a couple of people that were climbing up the mountain, and there was a priest that somehow knew one of them, and he asked if he would take this crucifix up to the top of Mount Everest. He took the crucifix off of his rosary and gave it to the man, who carried it all the way up to Mount Everest, to the very top, and buried it in the snow.

When he returned, and the priest found out, one of the sisters said to the priest, “You should tell the Pope about this.” So, he went down to write out a message to the Pope, and when he began to write a letter, he realized it was the feast day of Christ the King, which we celebrated last Sunday. He wrote the letter to the Pope, and the Pope got it, but it took a while to respond. Some months later, he receives a letter back, and the letter is on the feast of the Holy Rosary. He was given this wonderful gift placed at the top of Mount Everest.

I want you to think about Advent as the time to climb the mountain. This is the time when we can climb very close to God. Now the thing with mountain climbing is that you have to do some preparation before it. The people that actually go climbing Mount Everest, go to this base camp, and they spend three months at base camp just to acclimate themselves to the higher elevation. Advent is a time for us to prepare to climb the mountain and experience, God. What’s interesting is now, in order for somebody to climb the mountain, they have to have a Sherpa with them. This Sherpa is a local guide, and they’re the ones that go up beforehand, they make sure all the ropes are there, they set up camps at different places, there’s oxygen near the top, but they have to have a Sherpa that leads them and guides them up a mountain.

During the season of Advent, I want to be your Sherpa. I want to help lead you and climb this mountain of God so that you can experience it. That’s why I wrote this book called, Pray 40 Days, and have this program in the parish mission for the parish. My hope and my belief is that if you enter into this prayer and you really enter into this Advent season, you will experience God in a wonderful way. 

One of the things that I hear the most as a priest is people say to me, “Father, I talk to God all the time, but I don’t really hear his voice. Sometimes I wonder if he’s even listening.” I think part of it is because we just don’t know how to really enter into prayer where we can see him and feel him and hear his voice. So that’s what I’m going to help you to do over this season of Advent, to climb this mountain of prayer, to move from the very beginner prayer that we learned in second grade to an actual adult prayer where we see and feel and hear God’s presence. It’s interesting because it says, “All nations shall stream toward this mountain, and many people shall come to and say, ‘Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord.’”

I watched a movie called Everest, about climbing Mount Everest, and there’s a scene in the movie where one of the Sherpas says to the guys, “Why are you climbing this mountain?” He looked around, and nobody really had an answer, so he picked one guy, and he said, “You, why are you climbing this?” His answer was, “Because it’s there. It’s there, so I gotta climb it.” 

I want you to think about Advent for you. This season right now is the season of Grace. Why are you climbing this mountain? If you could ask God for anything or desire from God anything during the season of Advent, and that he could be born in a new way for you on Christmas, what are you hoping for? Maybe there is a mountain in your life of struggle and suffering, and you feel like you’re just not making any progress. Maybe you feel, like I said before, you speak to God, but you don’t hear his voice. He wants to have you encounter him in a new way this season of Advent. I want you to use that image of this mountain climbing.

Sometimes I like to sing a song, as I’ll do during the mission, and I take a song here. Just looking at the crowd here today, I had three options I was kind of working on. One was Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb,” and I thought, “I don’t know about that one.” Then was U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Does anybody know U2? Then I thought, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Maybe that’s one you guys would know.

So, I’m going to sing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and you’re free to join in as well. I want you to think about this; God is saying to you that there’s no mountain high enough to keep him from getting to you. In this season of Advent, that’s what He wants to do. He wants to come to you in a new way. He wants to have you encounter Him for real. So here is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Who’s it by? Diana Ross. Okay, thank you. Maybe I picked the wrong song. Does nobody know this one?

Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, 

Ain’t no river wide enough.

Just call my name. I’ll be there in a hurry. 

You don’t have to worry.

Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, 

Ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to you.

Remember the day I set you free, I told you you could always count on me. From that day on I made a vow, I’ll be there if you

want me, some way and somehow.

Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, 

Ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you.

Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, 

Ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to you.”

I want you to know that God wants to get to you in a special way this Advent. Join me in this mountain climb. Join me in this wonderful adventure of Advent where you will come to discover God in a new way. We’ll begin with the Parish Mission, Sunday night, tomorrow night, at 7:00, Monday night at 7:00, and Tuesday night at 7:00, and then you will have 28 days, the number of days there are in Advent. You’ll have guided meditations to lead you through this wonderful season of Advent and climb that mountain where you will hear God, you will see God, and you will experience God.



  • Mary Soltis says:

    Thank you. Found a sandhill crane who got stuck up here in a storm in Sitka Alaska. This bird should be in Tuscon or Mexico by now, but he was wandering around Moller field, all alone. I think it was singing the same song you just sang. What was so striking in the fresh snow, was that it was all alone. I thought this was a good Advent meditation about longing for home, longing for Jesus.

  • pauline rechichi says:

    Good morning Father Denk: And my apologies that I just became aware of the beginning of the mission. This is so perfect in content of moving forward thru thoughts of the physical elements or spiritually – one level higher and I like the idea of a Mt. Everest challenge, it offers the visual and with that the excitement of progress. Education is a huge part of my makeup and if I learn and absorb all of this it may be beneficial to me and, if possible I can recognize someone who may need help. What a wonderful time to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and add our experience thru these teachings and share this ultimate gift.

    I truly feel that God has chosen you for our St. Matthias – and that you are under the beam of enlightenment and special. Energy and promise, I am so proud of you. Thank you for accepting our church family.

    With all Heavenly smiles to you, Pauline Rechichi

    • Dear Pauline, Hey I’m at least you became aware:) I’m glad to hear that this has been perfect for you and moving to the higher level challenge! Thanks for your kind words and affirmation I’m always grateful when a visual relates to someone! I’m so glad to be here at St. Matthias with you! Fr. Michael