Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's Advent, Hurry Up and Wait!

Some of you may remember that back on October 20 I was surprisingly moved by a visit to a community of cloistered hermit sisters in New York state. Part of the spirituality of these women and their male counterparts is an attentive waiting for the coming of the Lord. It's Advent now and many Catholics don't realize that this season is not only about preparing for Christmas, but about preparing for the coming of the Lord.

For those of us who are in the rat race and not spending our lives in solitude on a mountain top we might wonder, "What can we learn from these hermits?" I think that there are several things we can learn. First among these is the need to slow down. We live in a face paced society and certainly benefit from the speed and convenience that technology brings us. I myself marvel at how I can be in Kentucky where I am working this week and book three parish missions for next year via my cell phone as a road in here from the airport. This is all well and good but there are some things in life that do not have a quick fix or solution and we become frustrated, at least I know that I do, when things cannot get done in a hurry. So one Advent discipline in which we might engage is to slow down a bit, taking time to "smell the roses" and maybe to encounter the Lord in the slower pace. Many of you know that I love baseball and other sports. I can remember going to games back in the 50's and 60's and actually having conversations with people between innings. Now there is deafening thumping of music that prevents that. We need silence to listen to God but also to one another. We spend a great deal of time talking and twittering, but do we really listen to each other any more.

Finally we can learn that waiting on the Loird produces joy. There are all kinds of fundamentalist fear mongers wanting us to tremble because the world might be ending, and in the secular world there are movies like 2012 with its big earthquakes and tsunamis. Our faith does not call us to believe in the world's end, though that is inevitable, but rather in the coming of the Kingdom which we wait for, as we say in the liturgy, in joyful hope.

The Lord will come again in the fullness of time. If we are ready for the many little ways in which He comes every day. The big coming will take care of itself.

1 comment:

  1. Last night at prayer group with my community of friends we focused on the expectant hope that Advent fulfills. We seemed to be having the same discussion we had last year and the year before that. We then realized that what began eight months earlier for Mary as part of a natural cycle is now in its last four weeks. We will celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus soon enough, but eventually most of us may forget the gifts, the joy and the fellowship that brings because of the fast-paced life we live in which we fall, we rise, we fall again. During Advent, each year, I'm reminded to be there for those who fall, for those who struggle through the coming Holidays, to help them stand up again like I was helped a long time ago, and overcome the fear to ask for help again if and when I need it. Slowing down helps me remember. that.