A reflection by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB
One of the first readings the Church gives us during Advent is from the book of Revelation: “‘These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.’ ‘Behold, I am coming soon.’” (Rev. 22:6-7). And that’s Advent. He is coming soon. Either we will see Him when He comes in the clouds, or we will see Him when we die and He comes to us, but one way or another we will see Him! Am I ready? Am I ready to see Him? I think that we should have great joy when we think about this, not because we are confident in ourselves, but because we are confident in Him. We should put great confidence in Him alone.
Then we will have a great sense of joy about His coming, and we will strive to live for Christ purposefully at every moment, so that when He comes we are ready. Part of that means being present to our prayer very purposefully, being present to each other very purposefully, giving a good example very purposefully. Take the time to notice one another. Don’t be too busy to notice those who are closest to you – those you whom you may take for granted. Take the time to encourage one another. Now is the time. Now is the real time of joyful conversion. Don’t wait, even an hour. Begin. Let each moment be a new beginning. And then how bright would this world be – how bright!
I also want to point out that in one of the special collects (prayers) that the Church has during Advent, we implore the Lord that “when He comes and knocks, He may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in His praise.” He comes and knocks in a special way during this season, and it is for us to ask ourselves, “How does God knock on my soul? Is my soul attentive? What are the deepest desires of my soul?” The season of Advent is the season of silence, so that you can be aware of what is going on in your soul, not only the negative things, but also the joyful things. What do you do throughout the day that makes Christ say, “I’m so happy I knocked on your door!”? The silence of Advent is a joyful silence, kept so that we can hear His footsteps when He comes, so that we can hear His voice. It’s a happy waiting, like a child at Christmas waiting for Santa Claus to make noise on the roof. It’s that sense of waiting in expectation, of asking: “When is it going to happen?” You don’t want to miss it. That’s the joyful silence of this season.
And if anyone feels like a lost sheep this Advent, just remember the importance of crying out to the Good Shepherd to be found. Why would someone not cry out? Shame? Pride? Self-reliance? But the Lord hears the cry of the poor, and He wants to find you and be found by you this Advent. So remember to cry out to Him, and let yourself be found!