Advent - Related Content

Advent light and joy: the vocation that may shine from deep inside you

Thursday, December 15th 2016 3:00 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Can you feel the energy in the air as we continue our journey of Advent towards the celebration of Christmas? It reminds me of dragging my feet across the carpet and experiencing a small shock of static electricity when I touch another object or person. These little jolts serve as tiny wake up calls to the present—where I am and what I’m doing (which is laughing or shrieking, depending on the intensity of the charge).

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The Scripture passages for the Third Sunday of Advent are powerfully charged too. We hear from Isaiah (35:1-6A, 10) encouragement to rejoice all that we have been waiting for because it’s here. Put on your party clothes, play your favorite song and dance out of the pure joy of being alive today! Shake off any remaining fear and let it permeate your soul! Sure, you may get a few curious looks but who knows—maybe a spontaneous, two-minute dance party can reignite delight lost in the piles of paperwork, emails and texts. After all, joy is contagious.

This week, in the words of the Gospel of Matthew (11:2-11), concern is transformed into joy as Jesus sends John the Baptists’ disciples back to him with good news. I imagine them with effervescent excitement, in animated conversation, rushing their way back to tell John. But let’s stop and take a breath for a moment. This stretch along the road of Scripture is a great place in which to pause; to reflect upon and rejoice in affirmation you’ve received for endeavors you’ve poured your life energy into. How did you feel? Did you bubble over with excitement? I did, when I ministered as a pastoral associate. Each week during Advent, we invited parishioners to come through the doors and breathe; to take time to connect with God and set worry, the commercial hustle and bustle, aside. I’ll always cherish the witness to such joy I was so fortunate to experience.

The searing questions we hear on the lips of Jesus are held in tension with this sense of Advent joy. Caught in this whirlwind of emotions from somewhere deep inside there is opportunity for “Ah ha” moments. One can imagine the faces of those gathered around Jesus curling into smiles as they realize the joy of the divine secret revealed, and their own discovery of what this news means for their own lives. The gift and the receiving and the rejoicing already existed before them, just as it is for us over 2,000 years later.

We know that the joy we feel radiating from the illuminated candles of Advent can be found at any moment, all around us. Each ecstatic experience has the power to reignite the hope that lies—sometimes dormant—within us, and encounters of the divine can be conduits of discernment.  Stop and feel the current that powers your heart as you visit congregations and explore possible mission-motivated ministries—the vocation that may shine from deep inside of you.

So this week, as you take in the reflection of the light of Advent, let it illuminate all the joy in your life.

Where is the joy in your heart leading in discernment?

Can you see what triggers that eternal spark?

The hope and conversion in Christmas

Thursday, December 8th 2016 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


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Photo by Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

I am a fan of holiday movies. In a span of two hours plots develop with a challenge in the life of the main characters that invites reflection, followed by a new choice. Usually the story has a happy ending but not before they face the reality of the situation before them. It’s the lesson of conversion dressed up in holiday clothing; a Gospel value renewed for the season. 

I also enjoy Advent, the second week of which is now upon us. The dual message of Scripture is hope and conversion—hope, even when we are asked to examine the truth of who we are. In light of this wonderment I’m choosing to make time to continue unpacking the richness of Sunday’s readings—that which invites all of us to be in the present moment, not race ahead to Christmas as the commercial world advises. The messages we receive during Mass should not dissipate with the recessional. Our tradition calls us to allow the verses to stir in our hearts and move us to action throughout the week. 

Isaiah declares the transformation that will unfold with the coming of the Lord: an end to of domination and competition. I recently read an inspiring story about an athlete who competed with integrity; putting the unfortunate fall of a competitor before her own drive to victory. She personifies the time to come right now, today, as she made a choice countercultural in not only the world of sports but also in life.  This one act of kindness shines the light of Advent hope for all the world to see.

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The Gospel (Matthew 3:1-12) summons us to take Isaiah’s message a step further. Herald of the Good News, John the Baptist cuts through facades and invites each person to the depth of Christian discipleship; to make way for the Gospel message in our hearts and in the world. The reading sounds harsh when we are also living in moments of happy Christmas anticipation; from driving around to see the lights adorning homes to watching holiday specials on television (I could curl up in front of the TV and watch Hallmark Channel Christmas movies 24/7). We long to wrap ourselves in festive yuletide experiences; to leave anything that conjures negative feelings or remembrance of bad choices hidden away on the top shelf. After all, who wants to think about sin while eating cookies and listening to holiday music? It feels like a contradiction. But by listening to the wise advice of John the Baptist, one is reminded that such effort brings deeper reward.

This Advent season the invitation is clear—amidst the work we must also make way for hope in our hearts. Discernment is full of hope: hope of what God is calling you to; hope of what the church will receive in the gift of your life offered to others; hope of a new day when all will reach out to those in need. Each time you take time to examine who you are, what your motives are, you become a stronger herald of the Gospel no matter where discernment leads. John’s message of conversion is present in the experience. 

What will you do this week to take the messages of Isaiah and John the Baptist to heart in your discernment?  

What is your greatest hope—as gift to both yourself and to the world—for the outcome of your discernment?

 

 

Prepare

Thursday, December 14th 2017 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

As we continue into second week of our Advent pilgrimage, two words have come into my consciousness —discipline and commitment. I am a bit surprised: I typically associate these nouns with Lent yet here they are, popping up in a different season altogether.

It is normally this time of the year when my calendar overwhelms me with the extras of the season like holiday parties, special meal planning, choir practices, decorating and gatherings with friends and family. Suddenly, the extra intentional prayer time I had started at the beginning of Advent vanishes and, racing out the door to another event, I glance longingly at my stack of Advent books. I am grateful for the experiences, yet also I realize there is an invitation to once again reflect on my priorities. Not all the events I attend are ones I want to or perhaps really need to: some are obligations; sometimes it’s hard to say no. Where is the discipline and commitment I started with on day one?

Sunday’s readings call me back to awareness. It’s not too late to prepare my heart. Maybe it’s time to recalculate my pilgrimage and choose another route. Perhaps there is a course less chaotic, immersed in more solitude. I envision a back road beckoning me to slow down and enjoy the Advent scenery.

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Image courtesy pixabay.com

Part of making straight the path in my life means making time. It’s time to move some of the boulders in the roadway of my calendar that don’t provide joy and light. It’s time to look at all the possibilities of the next few weeks, set priorities and leave some room for the Spirit and surprises along the way.

In your discernment journey this week, what are the boulders in your path that need to be cleared to make a way for your relationship with Jesus? How are you preparing your heart for this Advent pilgrimage?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation. 

Awake and ready in discernment?

Thursday, December 1st 2016 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Why is it that when we are excited about tomorrow it’s impossible to fall asleep? I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve watched the clock move slow as molasses towards morning and birthdays and holidays; community celebrations and time with family and friends. This past Sunday, as a church, we entered not only a new year but a season of waiting. The old adage circles in my mind: the more you wait the better it will be. While I am sure this is true sometimes, I can also be impatient and yearn to know now. My favorite Advent song is Patience, People by John Foley, SJ. It reminds me that how I wait is just as important as the waiting. 


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Photo by Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

Advent has a dual focus of anticipation and action. It takes a lot of hard work to prepare your heart for Christmas; more than fragrant words of holy intention. Making space takes effort. Under the softened warm glow of preparation is the commitment to make things happen. 

On the first Sunday of Advent we hear the words of the Prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of Matthew, each offering insight into this time of eagerness. Isaiah is the prophetic alarm clock awakening sleepy believers. With strong words he clamors above the din of lukewarm following. His message streams across divisions calling for unity and inviting us to walk in the ways of the Lord. Reverberations ring as the call for change clashes against the comforts of routine and acceptance. 

Where do you find yourself as you reflect on the sword and the plow? Are you willing to pound your sword into a plow to cultivate ground for your discernment and co-create with God?  

In the Gospel Matthew also shares sage advice: don’t be distracted and caught unprepared; be ready. When waiting, it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus. There may be less time than you think. 

For all the wisdom and guidance Isaiah and Matthew provide, what is your attitude, in discernment, as you wait on God? When was the last time you pleaded with God to show you the way … "Now!"? Did you shout in anger? Threaten with an ultimatum? Storm away; frustrated because your discernment seems perpetually unresolved? 

And so, this Advent, I invite you to take the opportunity to prepare your heart, to welcome the wakeful nights of uncertain discernment you’re experiencing right now. 

Are you willing, in this moment, to wait?

 

Journey of Advent

Thursday, December 7th 2017 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

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Image courtesy pixabay.com

Do you like to travel? Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? A pilgrimage is a journey on which the participant commits to growing in faith, discovering lessons along the way and depending on God and the kindness of others to provide. This Advent season, I invite you to consider making your own spiritual pilgrimage, exploring the inner landscape of your heart in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It will require making time in your life to explore the questions that are most important to you; those that can serve as a map through your heart. What do you most need in your life of faith this Advent season? How is your journey of discernment part of the pilgrimage experience? The journey inward has the power to shape how you encounter the world around you. The Scriptures of Advent are rich sources of inspiration and food for the journey. Are you willing to enter the passage?

Two experienced guides of navigating inner terrain are Mary and Joseph. Faced with a decree from Caesar Augustus to fulfill the mandatory census in Bethlehem, they began a physical journey. From the vantage point of over 2,000 years later we can also imagine that the trip would spiritually transform their lives. I imagine many miles punctuated with conversation about their dreams for the future and periods of quiet reflection to gather the vastness of what may lie ahead. Many prayers formed the ground on which they walked. They were dealing with big changes — a new marital relationship, preparation for a baby like no other, and the danger of travel. I wonder how vividly they recalled each of their experiences leading to the road: Mary and her encounter with the angel and Joseph’s dream that changed his mind.

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Image courtesy freeimages.com

They chose to rely on God in all the uncertainty and challenge of not only this new spiritual pilgrimage, but also the realization of their unfolding pilgrimage of life. And watching Mary and Joseph each day, Jesus would grow into his own awareness of his humanity as they traveled.

In the first Gospel reading of Advent we see Jesus, on his own pilgrimage, taking a moment to pass on to his disciples the wisdom of cultivating watchfulness in their lives. He uses a story to try to get his point across. While they do not fully understand the journey that lies ahead, he advises them to be on guard; to know what you are about and what others around you are up to.

For us in our time, His wisdom continues to ring true. It is dangerous to be lulled into acedia; to think we have all the time in the world to be watchful … until we don’t. Pick up any newspaper or skim articles online to see stories of lives suddenly shortened. Time waits for no one. During the holiday season there is additional pressure and expectation and it's easy to see how the lure of inattentiveness beckons as an easier route; to let things go, put off until another time. Well, there may not be another time. What happens then? How can you take time now to be watchful, not only for the bad but for all the joy around you as well? Will you miss an experience simply because you were distracted?

What do you need to do in order to begin a four-week pilgrimage of faith this Advent season?

How will you be ready to begin the journey?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation. 

Beacons of hope

Thursday, December 21st 2017 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

Whether on a trip to visit a friend with a detour along the way or forging my continual pilgrimage through religious life, I rely on mile markers and signs to point me in the direction of my destination. The lighting of the third candle of Advent this week is a beacon as I traverse the remaining days of my Advent journey. Closer to my destination, I am filled with joyful revelation of all I’ve experienced so far as well as hope and anticipation for what lies ahead. Even the dark moments of pilgrimage are illuminated with the joy of the lessons learned and the deepening of relationship with God. Spiritual blisters are a symbol for me of the road walked, and the joy I discovered in risking the journey. I am forever changed by walking the pilgrim road.

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Image courtesy pixabay.com

The prophet Isiah proclaims encouraging words to nations who have been waiting for a sign. The long awaited time is now — life is about to change. What have you been looking for on your road of discernment? Are you waiting for assurance, courage, perfect timing to ask questions? Healing, freedom, and vindication are at hand and it’s time to celebrate! Are you ready to seize the moment and be bold? God provides, not only for you and me but for all nations. This is no small promise. This is life altering, earth shattering news — joy beyond measure. We are headed for the celebration of the incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us as one of us! Darkness is vanished all creation revels in great joy!

In the Gospel, John the Baptist continues to point the way. He is the humble messenger who will not be dissuaded from his task; even as they try to twist his words in attempt to bind his ego and catch him in the trap they are laying, top officials will not stop his progress. John knows who he is and who has sent him on this journey. His pilgrimage of faith has led him through the byways of his heart and to the road of public witness, sharing the good news of Christ’s coming. God is John the Baptist’s signpost; he will follow wherever the journey takes him, through the joy and trials along the road of his own pilgrimage. In many ways this question of identity echoes in the heart of all discerners. So who are you? What do you stand for? What is your message? How does your life point to God?

As you continue your Advent pilgrimage this week I invite you to ponder the following:

-- What have been some of the joys and trials along your Advent pilgrimage?

-- How do you depend on God to be a signpost for you on your journey?

*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

Discernment and Advent: is your heart ready for the celebration?

Thursday, December 20th 2018 10:00 am
Amy Taylor, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration

 

"... a visual sign of what was to come."

 

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Image courtesy of Daisies & Pie

When I was young child, we began the month of December at school by making green and red construction paper chains — learning how to mark time link-by-link until Christmas. We arrived at the classroom each morning ready to tear away another slip of red or green and inch closer to the big day. I imagine the ritual, a visual sign of what was to come, curtailed our continual Christmas count-down questions for the teacher. It was a reminder — a connection of our fervent dreams to the special time to come. Looking back at the experience I realize it also helped us learn how to wait for something together, as a group. Without fancy theological concepts in our seven-year-old brains, we became a community of believers. 

Now, in our fourth week of Advent, the readings serve as a link in salvation history. The Old Testament prophet Micah is the wise teacher reminding the faithful of a time to come. They too struggled with how long the wait would be. But hope withstands like a long, invisible chain, linking the moments until the celebration can begin.

In the Gospel, we skip ahead in time to beyond the angel’s visit to Mary and her “yes” to becoming the mother of Jesus. She wastes not a moment; runs straight out the door, bursting with excitement to share the joyful news with her cousin Elizabeth. And in nine short months, Mary beholds the face of God in the birth of Jesus. 

Each Advent, over 2,000 years after Jesus‘ birth, we recall this story and challenge ourselves to make room for Jesus in our hearts. Time is of the essence as this year the day of is just a mere 24 hours after the fourth Sunday of Advent. The moment is now upon us. Is your heart ready for the celebration you have been anticipating?

For additional pondering this week ...

How will the celebration of the birth of Jesus change your life, not just a month in your calendar of events?

How does Mary’s example of moving on God’s invitation without hesitation inspire you to take the next step in your own vocational call?
 

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation. And, stay tuned to Show me a sign for new videos in the FSPA discernment series!

Celebrating the work of making room

Tuesday, December 3rd 2019 4:00 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

"Each moment that God is at our sides, the light grows."

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Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash

As millions around the world observed the lighting of the first Advent candle on Sunday, hope and change are in motion. It’s an invitation to a season of preparation that we receive every year. How will this year be different for you? How will we all see that this year is ripe with opportunity to cultivate the best in all of us? How will we become the light of joy, hope and love blazing against the darkness of violent death, famine, war and destruction. 

Throughout the season of Advent, we have the chance to encounter God and encounter one another. By opening our minds and our hearts we can:

  • Look for opportunities to risk the unknown and discover the light that some will try to snuff out. 
  • Start conversations of depth with the commitment to taking action.  
  • Risk comfort for the sake of reaching out to another. 
  • See our differences not as liabilities but as avenues of learning and appreciation of diversity.  

As we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, it will mean not just going through the motions of another season, leaping forward to celebration, but making room.

Isaiah sparks our call to imagination by sharing a vision of unity and peace with God as our leader and loving one another as the litmus test for action. Do you see his vision?

Each time we encounter the light of God we are changed. We choose to be open to risking the known for the unknown, to take action when it would be easier to maintain a routine, to be a witness in times that try our souls. Each moment with God is at our side, the light grows. Preparation for the kingdom of God is not confined to four weeks on a calendar but continual. We are meant to be light all year long! 

The wisdom of Scripture continues in the first week of Advent in the words from the Gospel of Matthew. Time is short, we cannot afford to be lazy or to be lulled into a false sense of security of endless days. We are called to keep our eyes on God. To remember that we will one day be asked how we loved. 

Discerning religious life will pose hard questions for you. Advent is a great time to ask yourself if you’re willing to make room for Jesus and the world in your life Are you called to the prophetic life as a vowed religious?  

Advent in action:

What are you noticing in the world around you?  

What are you committing to do for the good of another this Advent season?
 

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

Discernment and Advent: called to new life

Thursday, December 6th 2018 10:00 am
Amy Taylor, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration

 

"God creates ways to fill in the holes we're convinced might swallow us up"

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Image courtesy pixabay.com

Life, as well all know, includes instances in which things don’t work out the way we plan and dream. It could be an important exam that, despite long hours of study, garners a bad grade; disappoints and shatters your confidence. Or, perhaps it is the sudden end to a relationship that breaks your heart. It is in these raw, emotionally exhausting and vulnerable experiences that we stand before God, mourning our losses and grappling with what feels like the worst time in life — one leading to doubts and questions of our own motives, goals and identity.

If you’ve ever sunk to the depths of such despair — your own rock bottom — you will understand this week’s first reading as we hear the words from Baruch. The people are in agony; separated and lost with thoughts that they have been forgotten. But this is not true. God calls them to new life; reminds them that all is not lost. They will be happy again. They will have all they need. They are called out of mourning, reassured and given a renewed sense of purpose. With God’s encouragement, the fading light of what looks like the end can actually reveal the footholds of a new beginning — not only survival but hope and happiness.

God‘s light and love never dissipates. Friends and family pray you through, even if silently; under the guise of leaving you to find your own way through grief or challenge. They, like God, have not abandoned you in your time of need. 

The Gospel is yet another source of encouragement, reminding us all this Advent season that every experience in life can be a stepping stone as we move into the future. God creates ways to fill in the holes we’re convinced might swallow us up.

As we reflect on the second week of Advent let us consider …

•    How has God guided you along a treacherous path to restore your joy?
•    How are you paying it forward and helping a friend or family member who may be suffering?
•    How have you experienced disappointment or loss on your discernment journey? 
•    How has God been with you … every step of the way?

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation. And, stay tuned to Show me a sign for new videos in the FSPA discernment series!
 

 

Discerning from both sides of the river bank

Sunday, December 8th 2019 7:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

How we encounter and react "is indicative of how we're living our faith life." 

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Light continues to radiate in each Scripture reading for this second Sunday of Advent. Isaiah reminds all to hold on to hope. What seems to be impossible — adversaries putting aside their harmful ways to live in peace and respect of one another — will become reality. New ways of existing will be found, collaboration will occur, old patterns will be redrawn.  

In our world, our neighborhoods and our families today, we also must put down old conversations and begin new ones. Tell new stories too. Violence is a tale of winners and losers, oppressors and the oppressed, and peace is one of commitment to changing the narrative. We are invited to begin within ourselves, to examine how we easily categorize others as either lambs or wolves.

In the second reading, Romans 15:4-9, we are reminded that Scripture is a place that all of us can go to gain wisdom, insight and invitation as we face the daily challenges of life. The words endurance and encouragement leap from the text. Life will not be a problem-free existence. Endurance will call for strength, courage and humility, and the commitment to endurance will also provide encouragement, hope and joy.  

Life is full of encounters: how we choose to act in each one of them is indicative of how we’re living our faith. A clear account of such adversity in action is the story of John the Baptist. Opposing groups meet on the banks of the river, each seeing a different path to God, each claiming to know the “right way.” But in our time, when we face our own conflicts and challenges, how do we find the correct path?  

Discernment is a calling to look beyond the easy answers. It is a skill to choose a specific path of life to pursue  — single, married or consecrated. It is a delving into the questions that simple answers fail to satisfy. It is a call to look from both sides of the river banks.  

Advent in action:

Ponder for a moment a current conflict between yourself and someone in your life. How can you recognize the divide you’ve accepted? How can you commitment to non-combative conversation? What could be a collaborative way to enter into dialogue?  

Finding your way to peace within yourself and with others is the work of preparing your heart for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, whose mission was to bring about a different way of living life.

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

Discernment and Advent: what are you preparing for?

Thursday, November 29th 2018 10:00 am
Amy Taylor, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration

 

First Sunday of the season shines light on spiritual preparation, reflects discernment

The ringing of the church bell this week not only calls us to Mass but proclaims the beginning of a new year with the First Sunday of Advent. We are roused from our routines of worship and greeted with plumes of incense as we bless the Advent wreath. We are invited to wipe sleep from our eyes to clear our vision and prepare our hearts and souls for the coming of Christ.

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Image courtesy pixabay.com

One of the invitations of Advent is to allow the Word of God to soak into our hearts and create space for renewal and relationship. We are challenged to make time for a spiritual preparation of the coming of Jesus, not just the temporal requirements of the season. Many of us will be easily distracted with concerts, holiday parties, volunteering, meals to prepare and many other things that vie for our time. What could make this Advent different, in terms of immersing yourself in the spirit, than any others in the past? 

Set your smart phone alarm as digital encouragement to celebrate Advent with God by appointment. If you are still using a paper calendar, be radical and schedule time for prayer in purple-marker that can’t be erased. Something as simple as reading the Scriptures of the day or listening to them online is also a great way to welcome the Advent season this year. You can do so on the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops website where you will also find a reflection for each day (like Dec. 2).

As we consider the banquet set before us, it is the psalm that serves as a wonderful reminder of the season. How will we make the time to give our attention to prayer, not only during the season of Advent but throughout the whole year?

More questions for reflection:

How will you dedicate time to God this Advent season? 

How have your eyes been opened on this first week of Advent? 

How is this season of Advent mirroring your discernment journey? What are you preparing for … waiting for?

 

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? Connect with membership@fspa.org to be added to our future premiere list. You’ll receive a sneak peek of our future Show me a sign video premieres.

Joy in the waiting

Sunday, December 15th 2019 9:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

 

What experiences in your life inspire trust and new discernment steps?

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Image courtesy freeimages.com

Joy is contagious. Ask a child you know, “How do you feel with Christmas just two weeks away?” Their eyes light up; they dance in place as joy beyond words escapes their little body, their whole being. It’s a jubilance that many of us share on the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, which means rejoice! The rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath casts a warm reassuring glow as there is joy in the waiting.

And it’s a joy that can also fill discernment of religious life.

The prophet Isaiah exuberantly expresses the providence of God in our first reading. With lavish care, God shows his great love with not just one small example but with expansive artistry that transforms the parched, scorched, barren spaces in our lives to be places of great beauty.  

Pondering the magnificence of this image, I can’t help but recall the photos of the super bloom that happened in California this past March. The images of the flowers I saw online were captivating, the colors amazing. They gave me a sense of hope amid continual snow showers still occurring in Wisconsin at the time; thoughts of spring sure to come encouraged me every time I had to pick up my shovel. Signs of hope in the midst of trial aid the cultivation of resilience and patience.

James, in the second reading, reminds us that waiting produces maturity and bounty. Patience also generates endurance. While we desire the days leading to celebration to pass quickly, time moves at the pace of its own wisdom. In discernment, you may be waiting in joyful anticipation for a sign revealing to you where you see yourself living fully into the person God calls you to be, to the congregation in which you can best fulfill your gifts. Visiting and praying and pondering are actions, investments, essential for finding your future happiness. 

As we turn our attention to the Gospel, to John the Baptist, all of these gifts  — joy, patience and endurance  —  come to fruition. He has been faithful to his prophetic mission and the world rewarded him with imprisonment. He dared to speak the truth to power. You may ask, where is joy in prison? John did not lose all hope: he took action by sending his disciples to learn more about Jesus.

Can you imagine the joy his disciples carried as they rushed back to share the good news of the growing belief in Jesus with the man who inspired their own choices to follow Jesus? The joy of good news is contagious.

Perhaps when you share the good news of your discernment, others may also be inspired to consider religious life.

Advent in action: 

What are the joys you celebrate in your discernment on this Gaudete Sunday?

What experiences in your life, those that deepen joy and your relationship with God, inspire trust and new steps in discernment?

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.


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