Advent is a busy time of year. Stressful for many because of the many expectations around Christmas and other holidays celebrated around this time of year, it is still for me a time of peace. Well at least interiorly. I hear from many of our sisters of their activities. Those in ministry with Latinos have just finished the celebrations of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12th ) and are now engaged in the Posadas. See: http://www.mexconnect.com/MEX/austin/posadas.html
Others are involved in the many, many activities of this time of year no matter if they minister in parishes, agencies or retreat houses. Life is full.
Traditionally Advent has been a time of preparation to welcome Jesus into the world, your life, your heart. One of the sisters told me that Pope Benedict said Jesus isn't coming he's already here. That's 3rd hand info what I know he said is this, "We could say that Advent is the time when Christians should awaken in their hearts the hope that they can change the world, with the help of God,"
It is a time of waking up to the fact that God is with us. Here among all the messes we have made are making and will make, God is present. We just need to be aware of that presence.
This Advent was so very different for me because I went on my yearly retreat and had lots of time for prayer, silence, reading scripture and reflection. So very different from most of my past Advents when I was involved in counseling and direct service at Catholic Charities.
Besides using scripture I had the daily podcast from the English Jesuits, www.prayasyougo.org
For Advent they are using quotes and scripture from Pope B16,s 2005 Encyclical on love, Deus Caritas Est. Wow, are they beautiful! Anyhow all this has helped a lot with my awareness of the presence of Jesus. I know of Jesus' bringing to us, to me, the great compassionate and merciful love of the Trinity.
I do pray that the awareness of God's love would spread all over the world and impact the way we live. Not just at this time of year, but throughout the year. I know my responsibility is to make that awareness present in my actions and in my treatment of others, to the folks in my daily providence. I am impatient though, I wonder why the fulfillment of God's plan can't be NOW! Why aren't we all living together in peace, harmony, justice and love. Why are so many people suffering violence , hatred, hunger? Why don't we all get off our butt stop focusing on the trivial, the greedy and the me, me, me attitude towards life. Well too bad I have to be patient and let life unfold as God would have it. It is after all God's world, God's plan, God's mission and I am a just a little spec in the great overall workings of God's effective love in life.
Which reminds me of another thing, letting go. That was another theme of my retreat; that letting go of the illusion of control. It's a great secure illusion for sure. We all like to think we're in control of ourselves, other and events. The reality is the only control possible is over myself and even that is at times tenuous. Anyhow let me pay attention to you Lord in the ways you give me in my daily life and let me respond to other with your love and compassion. Amen.