First Advent Reflection 2016
We have now entered into the second week of Advent. Before Advent, slightly over a week ago, some preparation can be seen taking place in our convent and church. An advent wreath was made, advent candles were set up, flowers were removed and purple is the colour! These were only external changes. The inner preparation within each one of us were left to our own inspiration. I found myself asking what all the fuss is about. Advent is a just another name for the time leading up to Christmas. Christmas is one of my favourite time of the year. Everyone seemed nicer, more peaceful and more loving during Christmas. Not forgetting all the presents and Christmas dinner!
However, being very aware of the fact that I am a religious sister, albeit still a fledgling in this journey, I felt the need to search for a deeper and more meaningful Advent. The first week of Advent was about hope. What is hope? I use the word hope frequently. I would say I hope my family and friends are well. I hope I did not offend that person. I hope it will snow this winter. I hope I do not burn Sunday lunch or I hope I do not make a fool of myself! It goes on and on. This hope is wanting something and it is usually something tangible for us but this hope is also knowing that it might not turn out as we would like it to.
I had the opportunity to attend an internovitiate meeting where we did a personality analysis. It was my first time doing such a thing and it was a quite an eye opener. I have been struggling with confusion of my identity and my character. Basically the million dollar question of who am I? The test results revealed that I do not generally have a strong preference for most of the traits. If you are looking on the positive side, it means that I am a well-balanced person. If you look from my point of view, I have lost my identity!! Yes, I do love to exaggerate but unfortunately, that is how I feel. Then a close shave with a bus on the way back shook me up. I could have killed somebody but in the end, it was just a scratch on the car.
I was made to realise that God is in the driving seat. He is in the driving seat of everything; my life, my loved one’s life. He is in the driving seat whether we realise it or not, whether we like it or not, whether we let Him or not. THAT CERTAINTY, for me, is what Advent hope I all about. Advent is about hope for God’s promises, for Jesus’ second coming, for conversion in all our life. The difference of this Advent hope with the conventional hope is that there is certainty in it. I might fight God all the way in my life but He will never let go of the driver seat because of His amazing love for me. He will do that for each and every one of us. How cool and awesome is that?!
I pray that this Advent hope find a place in my heart and yours. May it be a hope-filled Advent for all of us. Do good, give joy, make happy and lead all to Heaven (Mother Franciska Lechner)!
Second Advent Reflection 2016
The second week of Advent is focused on peace. Honestly, looking back on this week, I haven’t felt much peace. It’s been really hectic, with lots happening before the end of the school term and everyone feeling the excitement of what’s to come. Advent is supposed to be about preparation. But now more and more it seems like the bit people have to get through before the main event of Christmas Day, which is just about presents and eating and trying not to fall out with the family, right? The peace seems to have been overrun by the noise of buying presents, planning the menu and all the other things that just seem so important.
A few years ago, I wouldn’t even have noticed the peace was missing but that was before I felt called to something greater. I blindly went along with the rush to find the perfect presents, have the tree perfectly decorated, organise and cook the perfect Christmas dinner, and have a perfect day. But it never turned out that way and usually I was left tired and frustrated that my perfect plans had not turned out. I had taken Christ out of Christmas and left the whole season without meaning. It was like I was so busy organising and preparing the perfect birthday party that I forgot to invite the one who’s birthday it was. Which just doesn’t make any sense.
I was preparing for the wrong thing but now I understand that Advent is a great gift. It is a time for the spiritual preparation of myself. Am I really ready for Jesus? Are there any changes I need to make to my thoughts, words or actions? Have I been to Confession? Is my heart ready to receive Him? Have I taken the time to pray for people as well as buy them gifts? Have I taken opportunities to perform spiritual or corporal works of mercy?
And yet my preparations can only go so far. I find it all too easy to get caught up in things that don’t really matter and lose my focus. Jesus knows this and he is always ready to guide me back, if I am willing to follow. So, during this special time of preparation, in order to find my focus and the peace that is missing, I must listen to Jesus himself when he says “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt 11:29)
Third Advent Reflection 2016
Joy based on Isaiah 35:1-6.10
Let the wilderness and the dry lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom!
Here it is, the dry wasteland of my heart, full of weeds, chaos, distraction and sinfulness. This wasteland however won’t be a wasteland any longer, for it is called to rejoice and bloom, to bring forth flowers like the jonquil, to sing for joy. But… hold on… why would this happen? Wilderness doesn’t bloom, wilderness is harsh and empty… Sound of rejoicing in the wilderness? Songs?
For all of this there is only one reason. Look, your God is coming (…) he is coming to save you. The Lord is coming into the wilderness of my heart, into my busy world, into my distractions, walks straight into my chaos, sinfulness and weakness to set me free. Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees! The Lord is coming to bring me joy. Not a kind of joy that makes me smile, but a deep joy, the everlasting joy which doesn’t evaporate as soon as the difficulties come and lasts only when everything is alright. No, his JOY is much more profound than that. The JOY that God brings is steadfast and comes from the fact that I am deeply loved by him.