Rising from Sleep for Advent

By Sr. Ruth Ksycki

Have you ever been to a conference or sat in class after lunch and struggled to stay awake?  Or, maybe it was mid-afternoon when drowsiness descended.  No matter how hard you tried, your eyes closed, and you nodded off.

Jesus seemed to know our human condition.  In today’s gospel , he challenges us “to rise from sleep” and to “stay awake.”  St. Benedict reinforced this message in the Prologue of the Rule:  “Let us get up then…for the Scriptures rouse us when they say:  It is high time for us to arise from sleep.  Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God.”

For what purpose are we awakened and re-awakened?  We are to hear the Word of God and be instructed.  Then we are to spread the Word and encourage all people to be peacemakers – “to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Is. 2:4)
How do we become peacemakers?  By seeing the swords in ourselves – guilt, fear, envy, revenge, impatience, intolerance, etc.  And by “beating them into plowshares” by forgiveness, courage, appreciation of others gifts and differences – in short, awakening anew “in the light of the Lord.”  (Is.2:5)
As we begin Advent, may we together rouse ourselves from the usual routine and complacency and wake up to God’s presence which may come in unexpected ways just as Jesus came on that first Christmas Day.

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