I find it even more difficult to be patient and wait these days – really I think because of the speed of life, pressure of work, and expectations for instant response. I have an irrational fear of not being ready, or not working hard enough, or of what ‘might happen’. And yet as Advent begins, I hear God speak through the First Sunday readings – ‘yes, there are nations in agony, and menaces in the world, but dont you be ‘coarsened’ by the cares of life. Instead, pray for strength, and stand with confidence. Trust in your friendship with God – Christ has already offered salvation, the battle is won, and the life God wants you to live you are living!’ That is the Truth, and we are invited to enter, patiently, more deeply into this liberating, life-giving truth. There are tensions in the double-sided message… of ‘now’ and ‘not yet’, ‘disaster’ and ‘deliverance’, ‘destruction’ and ‘new dawn’ – and advent faith says stay awake and actively live with it – and sure enough, if we live the present moment fully, we find signs of the One we are waiting for. As Nouwen says in ‘Bread for the Journey’ ‘waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God’s glorious coming.’
And I see it on the faces of those being ‘Welcomed’ or ‘Accepted’ into the Order of Catechumens – they are such witnesses to patient waiting for me! One Enquirer has been coming to Mass with her little nephew for 6 years (since his mother died – she made a promise!). She is actively taking that first step now, and says it feels so exciting, and so natural. Her enthusiasm is catching – the whole parish seem to be full of advent expectation, really loving this ‘new’ catechumen who brings new life & hope to us – God is bringing order and beauty amidst the chaos, beginnings and endings, death and birth, dark and light, despair and hopem so in a nutshell, love one another and trust God.
I hope Advent starts well for you – enjoy Thom Shuman’s poem:
Every evening it’s the same: put the key in the deadbolt, turn and lock; check the windows; put out the cat; leave a light on…
all those routines to feel safe and fall asleep in peace.door open ajar
But some night, in the midst of my security, you will tiptoe into my house,
rearranging the furniture, cracking the combination of my heart, and ransacking all my fears.
Then, softly whistling ‘Come Thou Long- Expected Jesus’ you will slip out, leaving the door standing wide open
that I might follow you into the kingdom.
Come Lord Jesus! Amen!