December Reflection

Happy New Year!

This past Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent, and the start of a new liturgical year!
I was reflecting on some of the themes of this special liturgical season which begins this next year for the Church– hopeful expectation, waiting. And for what? For whom? For Jesus, who is not yet come, and yet already here?

This spiritual reality can be confusing and hard to grasp. Not to mention waiting can have a very negative quality in our human existence today. Waiting tends to bring about feelings of boredom, restlessness and a sense of being punished somehow by withholding the good.

Yet the ‘waiting’ of Advent is a lesson Jesus and His Church may desire to teach to us this season. I have been sitting this week in my holy hour with the question, “Jesus, what do you want me to know, to rediscover, to receive, to rest in this season?” So far, He has started working in my heart with the concept of ‘waiting’ fundamentally. This ‘waiting’ is not a lacking, but a full, active and present place for Jesus and I to spend some time together. Waiting in the spiritual life holds a richness we can be too quick to dismiss or rush through.

Advent is a time of preparation and renewal. Waiting is a time to take stock of where I am and where Jesus is calling me to go– and, how we are going to get there together! Jesus is in the waiting, not just the prize at the end. This is the mystery of Advent! This is the earthly pilgrimage of Heaven-bound Christians. All waiting is an advent season marked by Christian hope, love, joy and Christ’s peace.

No matter where each of us is this Advent and Christmas– where we are spiritually, professionally, relationally with friends and family– Jesus comes to that place where you and I are. This should expel any temptation to think that in times of waiting, or preparation, or transition, that there is nothing of value or worth; the temptation to think there is only “almost” or “not quite” or “someday” or “not yet“.

There is a “today” and a “now“, and it is on purpose, for a purpose. “Now” is an inn, (or maybe a stable)– prepare Him room!

Sincerely in Christ,

Krysti Patient
Assistant Director, Women Youth Apostles

Welcoming the Quiet, Preparing for Christ

A First Week of Advent reflection by Krysti Patient:

I’ve always had a problem with silence, with quieting myself.  I am a natural extrovert, a social butterfly. I feed off others’ energy and I’m a champion talker.  It’s no wonder it took me so long to meet my Lord, to know Him and to trust Him, amidst all the noise.  It took a lot of practice but I can look back on my conversion and the gift of my faith and see that all of the most beautiful moments between God and I have been in the quiet.

Even now however, I often struggle to imitate Jesus in the way he would often go off alone, away from the disciples, to pray. Silence AND solitude- two of my least favorite things! I’m the kind of person who when faced with the opportunity to do so, or to spend time with others, I’ll choose the latter and make some excuse as to why this was all the more charitable- building relationships and all that, you know.

My spiritual director often challenges me just before Advent to ponder what it is I would like to bring to Jesus on His birthday.  This simple concept, to gift something of myself to Christ at His annual coming on Christmas, is one I rather like, because when it comes to the season of Advent or Lent I often think in terms of the challenges and sacrifices I will make. Though these practices are a beautiful example of self-control and self-denial, my spiritual director’s take on these actions brings the focus where it should be- to make myself a gift to my God, who is all deserving of my time and of my love.

My reflections this Advent brought me to ponder this gift. What would make my Jesus happiest this year? What should I bring Him?  How do I prepare?  At Sunday Mass for this first week in Advent, the priest spoke of those three times Christ comes to us- In Christmas, His “first” coming each year; at the end of days, when He will come again; and each and every day when He desires to come into our hearts, to make His home within us, and each day in the Mass in the most Blessed Sacrament. I thought about how this gift of mine might as well help me to invite Him into my own heart.

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but he Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound…” 1 Kings 19:1-2

Christ is the tiny whispering sound. To hear Him, we must create the proper disposition within ourselves, a place of silence in our hearts to be attentive to the gentle whisper.

For Jesus’ birthday, I hope to give Him more of myself. I hope to give Him time and create room in my heart for Him to speak.  This Advent, I am challenging myself to reduce the noise that surrounds me and to come to the quiet.