December 3, 2012
(Liturgical Year 2013)
Feast of Apostle St. Andrew
First Week of Advent
How often in years gone by have we initiated the season of Advent with thoughts about how busy the next four weeks will be. We set ourselves up to by-pass a liturgical season that offers us amazing graces not just for the first month of the new liturgical year but, I suggest, opportunities to plan a spiritual journey for the entire Church year.
In this first week of Advent the biblical readings proposed for our daily liturgy and prayer speak of hope. Is there anyone of you who are reading these words who does not have a personal need for hope in the year to come. Perhaps there is an abundance of the felt need for hope.
A little time in prayer with the readings, a valued time for quiet reflection: these experiences offer each person the opportunity to consider how abundantly God wants to sharing his blessings and goodness.
Perhaps you may feel the need to experience the presence of peace within your heart, within your current reality. Perhaps God wants you to have an abundance of peace. Are you receptive? Can you see moments in your life where there is a need to recall words from today's first reading:
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
How often are the graces of God overlooked when a sharp word is leveled agains another or when we unfairly judge another person's words or actions. If some thought is given to these moments, is not war a part of one's life.
St. Francis Xavier, one of the original members of the Society of Jesus and a very dedicated and close friend of Ignatius of Loyola, is a true model of God's abundant graces. Indeed this man truly was an "Energizer Bunny" long before electricity. Xavier took the time to discern how God had offered him so many gifts and talents. It was prayerful reflection with God that Xavier learned and yearned to be an instrument in the hand of God, bringing God's life and love to thousands in many different places.