Advent



By Sister Clare Walsh, MHSH

Advent is meant to be a time of waiting, of pondering, of anticipating. Yet from Black Friday to Christmas Eve our lives are often frenzied leaving little time to savor the longing in our hearts. This time of wonder in the Church year offers much that speaks to our lives today if we but slow down, notice, linger, attend to the magic and mystery that is Advent.

There are many windows into Advent that could lead us to the place within us where God dwells. Each window looked through reflectively connects the God-story with our story.

Gift yourself this holy season. Perhaps take a few moments to look back on your life and notice the ways that God “broke in.” Often the most wonderful things we do in life arise not from reason and logic, but from imagination, intuition and desire. We are drawn not driven. The action of God is always a drawingpowerful, perhaps, but always gentle.

Like Mary and Joseph, we are invited to pay attention to our inner lives as an important source of God’s guidance. Mary and Joseph were faced with a life-altering discernment. Only in the depths of their own relationship with God, could they trust that what seemed incomprehensible, was, indeed, an invitation.

When we look back at the myriad ways God has been present in our lives, we, too, can find the courage to trust our longing and know that it is God’s invitation.  Jesuit David Fleming describes discernment as a “lover’s instinct.” People who love each other very much have a way of knowing how to anticipate the needs and desires of the other. They easily read the other’s face. They easily read the other’s face, listen to the voice inflection, and watch the way of walking.

By contemplating God’s action in our lives we can hope to develop a “lover’s instinct” of the Jesus who came to dwell with us.

For your pondering:

Take a little time to remember those moments in your life when God felt especially close. How did you feel? Ask God to reveal Godself to you this Advent.

Are there some choices in your present life that might contain an invitation from God to live with more joy, peace, freedom, love, and meaning?

The joy of this season is elusive to so many. Is there someone that you could bring God’s love to this Advent?

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5 Responses to Advent

  1. Marilyn Dunphy says:

    Thank you, Clare, for your lovely reflection on the invitation that is Advent. The possibilities of the Advent season are limitless, if we but take the time to linger and savor them. I look forward to praying in this spirit over the next four weeks.

  2. Erma Durkin says:

    Thank you for the Advent reflection. It really does take effort to set priorities on one’s time and activities. It is good to remember the words of a wise man who said, “Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away. (Robert Fulghum)

  3. Mary Ita Hayes, MHSH says:

    Thanks Clare, your reflections will be with me these next weeks. We need to use all means of Faith Sharing.

  4. Dianne Livingstone says:

    Clare, I did not comment when I first read your article but I used it as meditation for the beginning of my advent pondering. Time is such a precious gift and so often we abuse it or take it for granted, but true, it needs to be organized and planned. Thanks

  5. Dolly says:

    Clare,
    Your reflection stirs up much within me and I am challenged to sit with the desire to give birth in my everyday living to the word of God as it comes to me in so many ways. Thank you

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