Advent often seems like just a busy “home stretch” before Christmas “break.” Normally, there is little opportunity for parish leaders and catechists to prepare themselves for the season. We who serve others often think of ourselves last. However, if we do not develop a personal spirituality for Advent, we are not really in a position to teach others its significance. As has often been said, “You can’t give what you don’t have.”
Authentic spirituality for Advent, put simply, is waiting in joyful hope in a world that often looks pretty hopeless. But what does that mean? The Catechism defines hope as “the confident expectation of divine blessing and the beatific vision of God.” (2090) Christians are a people who expect blessing and expect to see God someday. How different from the values of the secular world, where relying on one’s own abilities is key! Yet do we, as Catholic people, behave any differently? Do we give witness to Christian hope through our speech and actions?
Why not take time before Advent this year to get in touch with hope? This simple process can help. Read the first readings and Gospels for the Masses of the four weeks of Advent. Find them in a missalette or by clicking on each Sunday of Advent here. Pray over these readings. Ask yourself the following, writing your answers in a prayer journal if that helps.
- How do these readings give me hope?
- What signs of hope do I see in my life and ministry?
- Can I allow Christ to be the source of my hope?
- How can I share my hope with others?
When you can answer those questions, you will truly be ready to celebrate and communicate to those around you the joy of the season of Advent.