The wonderful season of Advent is just weeks away! One of my favorite Advent homilies was delivered by the late Fr. Jack Daley to the students at Quigley South High School, where I taught in the 1980s. Fr. Jack began by doing some of the most incredible imitations of cartoon characters, including Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and Woody Woodpecker. He had the students in stitches. He then went on to talk about how cartoons invite us to reimagine the world: “Imagine a world in which your head gets flattened by a frying pan or an anvil, and all you have to do is shake your head back and forth a few times, and it returns to normal!” He then recalled the words of the Advent Scripture reading in which the prophet Isaiah invites us to reimagine the world: “The wolf will live with the lamb, / the leopard will lie down with the goat, / the calf and the lion and the yearling together; / and a little child will lead them.” (11:6)
Advent, indeed, invites us to reimagine our lives and even to reimagine our world. We are to reimagine our world as one that is aligned with God’s Word, which was revealed to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. We are to imagine our world as one in which the other cheek is turned, enemies are loved, and those who persecute us are prayed for.
As catechists, our ministry calls us to apprentice others into this new way of being human. And Advent is a perfect season for inviting those we teach to reimagine their lives and our world with Jesus at the center. An excellent tool for reimagining our lives is the daily Examen prayer taught by St. Ignatius Loyola. This Advent, Loyola Press will offer a daily e-mail series that finds its inspiration in Reimagining the Ignatian Examen by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ. The e-mails will invite us to pray with several Examens featured in Fr. Thibodeaux’s book and explore the effects of the Examen. Sign up to receive the daily messages beginning the First Sunday of Advent, December 3, 2023.
Likewise, as a catechist, visit the Loyola Press website for Advent resources. The site is chock-full of ideas for celebrating this wildly imaginative season, which invites us to partner with God in re-shaping lives and the world to more closely reflect God’s loving plan.