Advent: A Time for Giving Gifts to Ourselves

Advent: A Time for Giving Gifts to Ourselves


By Sister Mary Core, OSB

For most of contemporary society, Advent gets lost in the season of shopping.

People rush through malls and big box stores, loading gifts into baskets, buying more than they can afford and collapsing in exhaustion when they get home.

Which is why – if you were to come to St. Mary Monastery during Advent – you might be surprised to find no Christmas trees, lights or sparkle. (Of course, those do come later!)

That’s because we’re preparing for Christmas here, by focusing on Advent!

For these 4 weeks, we grow excited in our anticipation of God.

We listen extra-deeply.

We reflect and contemplate and … wait.

And that’s not just a bunch of words. For us, it’s intensely personal and real.

We listen for the small, still voice. We listen for God.

What is Advent?

Advent literally translates from the Latin as “to come.” It means more than the coming of Christmas, although that’s certainly one meaning.

Advent means the coming of tomorrow, of Christ’s birth, of Christ’s return.

It means the coming of Christ in our hearts.

Advent happens over and over. It reminds us that all is new, beginning, fresh. Every moment of every day.

Advent is a liturgical season that gives us a focused time to prepare for God.

How to make the most of Advent

Like the Benedictine Sisters, make time daily to sit with God.

There are many wonderful ways to open yourself to God, such as reading, walking in nature, listening to music and other quiet activities.

If you're nearby, join us for prayers, including Liturgy of the HoursEucharistCentering Prayer and Lectio Divina.

Here's our monastic prayer schedule

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you preparing for?

What do you need to do to get ready? Maybe you need to forgive someone. Maybe you need to become more mindful of God in others. Maybe you need to be kinder.

What are you decorating your house for? Should you also decorate your heart? What shall you use for decorations?

What shall you give of yourself this season? What heart time, elbow grease, self, are you willing to commit?

How are you preparing each day for God to call you home? Are you living your call?

A final thought …

The truth is, our batteries get a little low sometimes.

If we’re really trying to be what God wants us to be – if we're trying to listen to others, to God – Advent is a wonderful time to recharge.

Don’t let Advent get lost this year in all the bustle and aggravation of acquisition. Use it. Treasure it. Grow from it.

Seek to arrive at the place where, every day, you retain awareness of God, and of how you’re living your call.

And prepare for the rest of your life.

 


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