Advent Reflection: Fourth Sunday of Advent

By: Sister Jeannine Marie, O.C.D.

During the Advent season we read of the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. “Mary rose and went with haste…” (Lk1:39). Our liturgy once again bids us to make haste. But like Mary, our preparation must not center on ourselves. Mary prepared for the coming of God by reaching out in charity. Advent is a time to reach out to others; to give of ourselves. In this way, we will prepare our hearts for His coming.

“For while all things were in quiet silence and the night was in the midst of her course, the almighty Word leapt down from heaven from the royal throne…” God comes in silence. So let us, as the Psalmist bids, “Open wide the gates, that the God of glory may come in.” (Ps. 124) Let us, during these last days before His coming, open wide the “stable” of our hearts. Let us prepare a place there for Him to be “born to us” once again. Let us “listen” within ourselves so as to hear the gentle voice of the Christ Child.

“Let the clouds rain down the Just One and the earth bring forth a Savior (Is. 45:8) “O Emmanuel, come to save us!”

Published in: on December 23, 2007 at 10:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Advent: The Reason for the Season

By: Sister Mary Colombiere, O.C.D.

In Advent we experience expectation, anticipation, preparation and longing. We want things to be set right. We want deliverance from monotony, suffering, anguish, trials and worry. But joy can be experienced even in the midst of trials. Part of our Advent journey is to allow God to lead. Our Lady must have experienced great anticipation and joy in view of the coming birth of Jesus, but she was not spared trial and hardship. She lived as a real person in a real moment of time. She was a member of a subjugated people under Roman domination. She prepared for the coming of the birth of her God and her Son always within the context of what God placed before her each day.

When we lose the sense of wonder we fail to transcend the person, thing or event before us. Life becomes an endless succession of days, a countless series of activities to complete, never-ending tasks to be performed. We get caught up in the hectic pace and busyness of life and the joy of doing what we are doing is slowly drained from us. In our liturgical seasons we fall prey to the frenzied tempo of commercialism. We lose the wonder of childhood and we look toward Christmas as one more thing to get over, shopping to finish, gifts to wrap, cards to write, meals to prepare, cookies to bake, rooms to decorate, etc. They are no longer activities to look forward to as traditions we celebrate, labors of love, events that look to the manger, but last minute hurried tasks that pile up around us like gift wrap torn from packages and then left heaped up on the floor.

But then how do we take advantage of Advent to prepare for Christmas? Perhaps we have gotten too far away from why we have Christmas at all. It is after all Christ’s birthday. How can we make this the focus of everything we do in the days leading up to Christmas?

It is essential that we slow down and simplify. To slow down I need to take some time to reflect on what I do and why I do it. Is each one of my Christmas activities something that is done in a thoughtful and loving way? Can I simplify some of those activities so that I can truly enjoy them more? How many of these activities spiritually prepare me or my family for the Birth of Jesus? Is Advent for me a Reason for the Season of Christmas?

Published in: on December 17, 2007 at 5:24 pm  Comments (1)  

Reflection for the Second Week of Advent

By: Sister Mary Louise

In a book I was reading recently the author made a beautiful point about our Blessed Mother. He said that all through the Old Testament, God was preparing to send His Son. He began by setting aside a people as His own, then a tribe, then a family, until finally He set aside one individual person to be completely His own: Mary.

As we celebrate the great solemnity of the Immaculate Conception I am drawn to think of Advent from a different perspective. A time of awaiting, but who is doing the waiting? How great must have been the longing of Our Heavenly Father to send His Son into the world! “When the fullness of time had come, He sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” How great must have been the rejoicing in the Heart of the Trinity the day that Mary was conceived. At last, the redemption of mankind was at hand. The long wait that stretched from the desecrated garden, all through the years of exile, captivity, and oppression would soon be ended. As a tiny baby girl stirred in her mother’s womb, unseen by any human eye, with what great passion did the heart of God move with love for His people!

And He waits for me today. He has graces He wishes to impart to my soul. When I open my heart to Him, the torrent of His love is released and His longing Heart delights in possessing what He has so ardently desired. May Mary Immaculate obtain for us the grace to recognize the God Whose longing for union far surpasses ours own.

Published in: on December 10, 2007 at 6:12 pm  Comments (4)  

Advent: Christ’s Eternal Coming

By Sister Emma Luz, O.C.D.

Waiting, watching, waking with joyful anticipation for the Lord’s coming—this describes the season of Advent, the celebration of God’s coming to us in time. But this celebration is not just a remembrance of the expectation of Israel of the promised Messiah. As Christian’s we live in the reality of His coming, not just as a historical event but in the faith that He is NOW with us, and as God eternally comes to us. This time of Advent awakens the deeper longings of the human heart with a fresh awareness that Jesus came, as the Word made Flesh, but also is continually coming. His desire for union with us is continually moving in on us as “a Bridegroom coming forth from his bridal chamber.” His coming is a “now” event, seeking hearts to receive His love and to love Him in return.

The Church reminds us to “watch”…”stay awake”…”be cautious” …”vigilant”….”attentive”…”alert”….to the manifestations of His presence in our life—right now, at this very moment. Every recognition and acknowledgement of His presence and intimate involvement in our lives is an encounter with Him, a celebration of the consummation of His desire meeting ours.

Let us make every “Come, Lord Jesus” uttered during these days of preparation for his birth be a prayer of faith and love acknowledging His presence dwelling within— and there love and adore Him.

Published in: on December 1, 2007 at 6:55 pm  Comments (4)