We know that Lent is the season of the church year during which we draw closer to God in preparation for Christ’s resurrection at Easter. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the three pillars of Lent, are intended to increase our reliance on Jesus and open space in our hearts for God to fill.
We are all called to be contemplatives in action. Our individual lives, our communities and our era in time continue to strain toward or yearn for grounding in the Divine that guides us in action.
I think my favorite line in any Christmas carol is “Fall on your knees!” That’s from “O Holy Night,” a French carol written in 1847. The song can be profoundly prayerful for us whether we are from the most traditional or the most avant-garde strains of spirituality. The essence is profound awe at the love of God.
Advent introduces us to Luke’s writing about Zechariah, an angel and Mary. Going between the lines we learn how these three characters reacted to the news of the Messiah’s birth.
I love this season of Advent. For me, it is a time of already and not yet. A time when I focus on the coming of the Christ-of-faith and the promise that the infant birth incarnates. At the same time, God-with-us is already closer to me than I am to myself.
Advent is a time of hopeful anticipation as it precedes Christmas. If we allow it, Advent can be a transformative time, when we make the conscious choice to be still to open our eyes, ears and heart to see, hear and experience God in the lives of those we encounter, in creation, in our own very self.
Two of our sisters, Eileen McCann and Yoli Arribasplata, joined over a million people in attending World Youth Day in Portugal this August. They met with other pilgrims from all over the world and shared the joy of our charism and mission.