Cathedral News, December 3, 2017

 
 
 

 The Necessity for Watchfulness

“And what I say to you all: Keep awake.”  Matthew 13:37

Today we begin a new liturgical year, Year B. And with the new year comes the season of Advent; a time when we prepare for the Nativity of Our Lord at Christmas. Advent is the season when we live most explicitly with the “already but not yet” aspect of our faith. During the Eucharist we proclaim, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” And the last of those three ways that Christ is present in our lives day to day, week to week, and year to year, rings most loudly during Advent – Christ will come again. Our spiritual work during the next four weeks is to make ourselves ready for the Messiah to enter our lives, not separate from but as one of us.

So how do we prepare ourselves for such a momentous event?

We take action and work out our salvation as St Paul instructed the Philippians to do. We light candles on a wreath, put coins in slots on an Advent calendar, we read lessons and sing carols and take on a special project. And in our actions we prepare ourselves for the grace that is to come.

But Advent is also a time of quiet and introspection – a month to clear the way in our hearts for Christ to be present in our lives. We do as contemplatives do when they speak of creating an internal space in which God can reside. Combined with the actions we take, we wait peacefully and silently in prayer… and we watch. Even when things are so busy around us, we turn down the volume and surrender ourselves through worship. We let go of trying to control everything and open up to allow breathing room for the Spirit, faithful that our anticipation will be fulfilled.

We wait, we watch, we wonder and we offer prayers of hopeful expectation. This is the spiritual journey that we take upon ourselves intentionally during this season.

“Keep awake,” he says. And in so doing, we are intimately present with Mary and the Spirit creates within us a space in which to gestate the divine.

May we all have a blessed Advent.

Fr. Chuck+

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