How are YOU preparing?

john-the-baptistBy Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Sister Stefanie’s Advent Scripture Study continues today. Read the readings and ponder them. Feel free to comment here, or – if you’d rather have a private conversation – email her at smacdonald@smmsisters.org. She’ll get back to you right away!

I love this line: A voice cries out in the desert: Prepare the way of the LORD! (Isaiah 40) It’s from the readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent, so I’ve read it for years. But the experience that seared it into my memory was when I saw Godspell on stage with my family at the Five Flags Center in Dubuque. From the back of the darkened theater came the voice of John the Baptist singing as he walked up the aisle toward the stage. It gives me goosebumps today.

It gives me goosebumps because of its truth. We need to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord!

How? With the vigilance and focus it takes to seek something precious, something critically important.

Trouble is, we are accustomed to doing things the easy way. We flip a switch to be entertained. We press “buy” to acquire whatever we wish from the comfort of our chair. We watch our entire world pass by without moving a muscle.

Now, we are warned to prepare, to be vigilant. The first step, then, is to resist the urge to be entertained every night after work. Instead, let’s sit with – or walk with – or sing with – or serve meals with – or listen to – or read the Word of – God.

What’s the next step? Join in the conversation and share your thoughts! How are you preparing for Christ this advent? How are you living the life of the Gospel? In what ways are you taking time with God this Advent? How are you responding to God’s call?

2 thoughts on “How are YOU preparing?

  1. For me, this is the first year that I will celebrate Advent and Christmas as an adult and really understand what it is all about. Last year I remember reading that Advent was about waiting…patiently for Jesus to come. John the Baptist is an unusual person; his ways seem a bit unorthodox. Yet, it is what he proclaims that seems to draw people to him. I have heard two homilies this past week about John the Baptist and they both emphasized that he was different. The point of the homily was that as Christians we are called to be different. We cannot be like everyone else. Therein lies my predicament. I still want to be like everybody else. I want to please people. I am the middle child and a peacemaker.

    I don’t have all of my hearing. I never have. My family (and most of the world) is hearing. When I am with hearing people, I talk. But I am not hearing. I have some deaf friends and when I am with them I sign. I met some people at mass who are deaf. The mass is interpreted and I have been signing with them. But I am not deaf. This past week I had laryngitis. For me, the hearing and deaf worlds collided. I work in an office setting with hearing people; I cannot hear the person in the cube next to me. Without my voice I had an extraordinarily hard time communicating with everyone to get my work done. I didn’t get to sign until Friday night at my prayer group. Without a voice, I cannot cry out like John the Baptist. And maybe that is the point. Everyone else is talking, hearing, laughing. I am not like everyone else. Maybe this Advent instead of being the ‘girl that doesn’t hear well or talk’ , maybe people will be drawn into my silence. I pray that my coworkers will see Jesus in me when they talk to me and I smile instead of respond. I hope they will see Jesus in me when I pray in the lunchroom before I eat. And maybe they will see that Jesus is important to me when I politely decline an offer to get together after work on a Friday night because I have a prayer group I attend. Jesus is in the little things…a smile, a kind word or sign, and a prayer said midway through the day.

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    • Julie, Thank you for sharing! Your story brings a new focus and a different look to silence. It’s good for us to remember that the church is made up of many wonderful people, each one of whom helps make both the world and the church beautiful!!!

      I can relate to being a person who is a peacemaker who wants to make everyone happy. The key is to remember to include yourself in that effort … because if you aren’t happy, it’s tough to help others be happy! (Believe me, I know this from personal experience.)

      I agree we can cry out in the wilderness with out saying a word aloud. Our actions and our choices can speak volumes. I always think of St. Francis of Assisi when he said, “Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary.” 

      I am blessed to work in an environment where Jesus Christ is the center of all. Religious life was – and is – the right choice for me. From here I can be a silent witness to the world for God, and for the call to “prefer nothing to the love of Christ.”

      Blessings to you on your Advent journey!

      Sister Stefanie

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