Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
I am clear about what matters during Advent. I believe in the sacred seasons of the Church year as God’s redemption at work. Yes, such times, like Advent, are effective in my life if I believe (assume) that God is working, if only I be attentive, (be awake) to what is going on inside of me and what is happening around me to indicate what God asks of me, and I follow through. The follow through is most important, otherwise, what God is doing (at least, through me) may be stunted, because I didn’t follow though. My faith is at work when I let go of what I want for results of my follow through, and I allow God to work with what I have done. The blessing is in "seeing through" with what I have intended. Is this what Jesus means when he tells his disciples (who have just returned from following through with that which he asked them to do), "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." (Luke 10:24)
Even if my life’s perspective, future possibilities of real change, appear to be dead as a stump! (cf. Isaiah 11.1)
I am inspired by the lives of the saints. Three qualities, among many, stand out among the saints. They are the characteristics of being centered (focused), zealous (apostolic), and, committed (determined). And I pray to the saints for such characteristics to build up the kingdom of God on the planet. 400 years ago Francis Xavier met Ignatius Loyola at University of Paris. He became one of the first members of this new community of Jesuits. He spent many years in Goa, Southeast Asia and Japan. He had excellent organizational skills proven by the fact that the communities he establish continued to flourish long after his departure. He died at 51 years of age while on his way from Goa to China in 1552. The Advent season calls for self-examination and reflection. The language of Advent stresses the discipline of attentiveness, vigilance, and a willingness to be alert and on guard. "It is a call," as Catherine Mulroney, editor of Living With Christ puts it, "that prompts me to examine how I have been preparing the way of the Lord and whether I have, in any way, contributed to making straight his paths." Let us, today, recommit to the discipline of Advent, and like the seventy returning disciples tell Jesus about what you have done. It is all about follow through.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama.