Be Watchful, Be Ready … Like Me

katie-and-audreyBy Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

The meaning of the words in the title of this reflection, “Be Watchful,” fills my heart with caution and trepidation this season. I have a personal reason.

Recently having just returned from a walk with my sister, Audrey, who has Alzheimer’s, I turned away to hang up our coats. In the instant my back was turned, I heard screams and thump, thump, thump. Audrey had started down the stairs and fell, bouncing on three steps before we could rescue her. 

The next 24 hours are a blur. We picked her up, placed her in a wheelchair, called for the transport X-ray van and tried to discern how to relieve her obvious pain which she could not describe.

Through God’s goodness Audrey’s fall resulted only in bruises; she is now walking as sprightly as ever.

But I have changed, I WATCH when with her, watch uneven floors, crumpled rugs, see that shoe laces are not dragging. I am alert and vigilant.

And that is the stance Advent calls us to during these four weeks before Christmas.

Jesus says to his disciples, “Be watchful! Be Alert! You do not know when the time will come.”

In preparation for a God come to earth, we are to make ourselves worthy of the graces we have received.

Paul in the second reading says, “You were enriched in every way not lacking any spiritual gift, be worthy of your communion with Jesus Christ.”

Like me, slow down, be watchful of judgmental words, critical thoughts or impatient gestures.

Christ has come, is coming and will come to us in even a deeper presence if we stand alert and ready to receive Him.

What will you do or let go of this 1st week of Advent to better prepare for Christ’s coming?

2 thoughts on “Be Watchful, Be Ready … Like Me

  1. Thank you to Catherine for the story of Audrey’s fall and how it brought you to even more vigilance on behalf of Audrey. Bless you. And thank you for the reminder to be more mindful – to slow down, be alert, be patient, be kind. Good practices for the Advent season or any season.


  2. Mary Ann,

    Thanks for your reply. Actually Audrey teaches me a lot of just good living, liturgically and or theologically. I am constantly running into papers she sent me; or notebooks of hers, I find and her favorite. Poetry. Just yesterday I found a file filled with her ENNEAGRAM teaching notes. One thought at the bottom of a page: “Don’t be a bulldozer or a life preserver. Give every thought a friendly welcome
    and a friendly good-bye … They are designed to lead just one night.”

    You have done a great job writing a book, moving and having time to heal a broken hip! Congratulations!

    Take care,



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