Advent is the consecration of waiting in our lives.
This quotation comes from Sr. Maria Boulding OSB, an English Benedictine nun. The basic definition of the word, consecration, is: the action of making or declaring something, typically a church, sacred. This suggests to me that the experience of waiting, as with most experiences, is not automatically holy. I can approach waiting as a “waste of my time,” a hindrance to my progress, an agonizing period of anticipating the worst in a situation over which I have little-to-no control (like a surgery). Waiting can feel like the ultimate in passive behavior.
Yet, listen to these words from the Collect—or Opening Prayer—of the Mass for this First Sunday of Advent:
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ…
This could lead us to ask, “So, which is it you want God? Do you want me to slow down or speed up?
Dare I suggest that the answer is: BOTH?! In my observation, most of us tend to move in a hurried way—I am hugely guilty of this. While I may claim that this is just how I’m wired, it can give people the impression that…”Oh, Father is so busy… I better not bother him.” By working consciously to slow our pace, I believe that we increase the likelihood of being available to occasions of encounter that we otherwise will likely miss.
Simultaneously, I believe that most of us can afford to accelerate our response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. For some, this may translate into acting on an idea that has been swishing around our brains for months, like volunteering time with vulnerable members of our neighborhoods (may sound vague, but to list all who fit this grouping would take pages!). For others, it may mean asking a trusted person in our lives to hold us accountable to daily prayer.
God, grant us the grace this Advent, to discern more clearly how to consecrate our waiting in Your Holy Spirit and likewise how to quicken our response to Your Spirit.
A note of abundant gratitude:
As transitions of seasons occur on a calendar, so transitions occur in our personal lives. Allow me to take this opportunity to extend my deep thanks to Rich Bergolc, who along with his spouse, Nancy, and their family, has been a parishioner of St. Mary since the mid-90’s. For the past 12 years, Rich has faithfully served us in our maintenance department. As their family welcomes a new grandchild to their brood, Rich will step back from his position this month, to expand his role as Grandpa. Rich, we will look forward to continuing to see your broad smile in church and at parish events!