I appreciate the following Advent reflection by Sallie Latkovich, CSJ, taken from the Congregation of St. Joseph publication, Winter’s Wisdom: Advent 2009. For one thing, it renews my commitment to deepen my prayer life this Advent. And how does it do this? Simply by reminding me that God is indeed waiting for me to create sacred time and space whereby I can immerse myself in God’s loving and transforming presence.
One time that I do this is before retiring for the night. During this time I sit before my altar (pictured above) in my attic room. The icon that serves as the focal point of this sacred space is that of the Compassionate Christ (right) - his arms extended in loving welcome.
Often my prayer is one of silence, of simply letting go and allowing myself to be open to God’s presence within and around me. God waits for me, I know, to enter this sacred time and space. And I wait for the awareness of God’s eternal presence to rise up within me. I try to think of this experience as creating time and space to be with my Beloved. And, really, that’s what it is.
The challenge, I’ve discovered, is in establishing and maintaining the practice of creating that special time and space within which my Beloved and I can experience our shared, intimate, and sacred embrace. So many things distract and keep me away from such intentional practice, even though I know I’m better for it.
Strange as it may seem, it’s a bit like physical exercise. I often find myself putting off doing a work-out, even though I know I feel better once I get started into one.
So this Advent I’ve going to do my very best to develop and maintain both a renewed spiritual practice and a physical exercise routine! Yes, I’m going to get into both spiritual and physical shape!
The mention of Advent always stirs thoughts of waiting . . . waiting for Christmas. Theologians always speak of reflecting on the three ways of Christ’s coming: in history in Bethlehem, in the daily events of our lives, and the second coming in the future.
I’ve been thinking that we’ve got it all wrong. We need not wait for God. God is always present, always with us. That’s what the name Emmanuel means: God-with-us. And, that’s the primary truth we hear in the Scriptures. God created us, and calls us into relationship. God is indeed present with us, and especially in the person of Jesus the Christ.
No, this Advent I’ve come to see that it’s GOD who waits for US . . .
. . . waits for us to notice that we indeed created by God. We are born with unique gifts and qualities as well as deficiencies and lack of qualities. God only sees our goodness, and waits for us to notice too.
. . . waits for us to notice the myriad ways in which God is with us, always. We know the Creator in the beauty and amazing capacities of creation, both earth and human. We know the Creator when we experience love. We know the Creator when we cannot explain or understand mystery.
. . . waits for us to notice when we observe people acting in the image of God: in covenant with one another, both those known and unknown, both those alike and those very different.
. . . waits for us to notice the emptiness in our hearts that can only be filled by God’s own Self.
. . . in the season of Advent, as Christmas approaches, God waits for us to notice the wonder and innocence of little children. How God must long for us grownups to be more like them, without guile.
It is true that in Advent we wait; but really, it is God who waits for us. May we savor and revel in that reality.
- Sallie Latkovich, CSJ
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
My Advent Prayer for the Church
Thomas Merton on “the Advent Mystery”
The Centered Life as an Advent Life
Advent: Renewing Our Connection to the Sacred
Recommended Off-site Link:
Some Thoughts for the First Sunday of Advent - Colleen Colkoch-Baker (Enlightened Catholicism, November 29, 2009).
Images: Michael J. Bayly.