Mercy Mondays: Chaplain’s Corner – Preparations for Advent season
“Speak about Christ only when you are asked. But live so that people ask about Him.”
This quote comes from one of my favorite poets and theologians, Paul Claudel (1868-1955). It eloquently summarizes Claudel’s profound faith. Throughout his life, as evidenced in his writing, Paul was filled with an overwhelming joy and wonder as he shared his faith, his hope and his love.
Today, we are invited to do the same: meditate, reflect and ponder our faith during this month of November. November is typically the month where we remember all the saints – in particular, those loved ones that have gone before us – and it’s a time when we gather as a nation to give thanks. It’s also the month when we begin to prepare for the Advent season and Christmas, which is one of my favorite holidays!
During this time, Salve Regina gives us many opportunities to respond to God’s invitation to deepen our very own faith, hope and love. In order to respond to God, we must take a moment and see how he is calling us to do so.
Claudel’s work has truly influenced my personal faith by his profoundness of thought, his enthusiasm and deep sense of joy. In one of his writings, “Présence et Prophétie,” he speaks of angels and the fulfillment of their mission – so we, too, are called to complete our mission.
What is our mission, you might ask? I am especially reminded that as Mary made her fiat – “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” – after receiving the message from the angel Gabriel. And we are called to follow in her footsteps by accepting God’s invitation to increase our faith and deepen our joy. Just as throughout the sacred scriptures angels delivered messages, so today God continues to reveal himself in our brothers and sisters.
So, the question remains, how do we respond? Are we so wrapped up in the secular things of this time like shopping, decoration and more that we are blind to the God’s invitation for us to say “yes”?
Just as Claudel says, we need to be aware that through our actions and by the way we live our lives, we should be inviting others to meet Jesus. I remember reading an article by Cardinal Dolan who tells a great story about Advent, the time in the Church when we prepare for Christmas. He writes:
“His first Advent in New York was numerous years ago. He became fumed as he processed up the aisle at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Mass, because he saw that the crib scene already up!
After Mass he said to the rector, “What’s going on? It’s Advent. We don’t put the crib up until Christmas!”
“Well,” the rector replied, “fine, but, keep in mind that between now and Christmas over two million people will come here to St. Patrick’s. They’ll see candy canes, snowmen, reindeer, and Santa out there; shouldn’t they see the crib at least in here?”
“Besides,” he concluded. “Take a look. The crib is empty. Jesus is not there. He’ll arrive on Christmas. The manger scene waits.”
The Cardinal continues: “Advent invites us to look at the world and our lives as an empty crib awaiting a baby.” (Catholic New York, Dec. 2017)
The invitation to bring Christ into this world was made so many years ago by an angel to a young woman. Mary answered with her yes, and so the invitation for us is the same to say yes to God. Only this time, the invitation comes through our brothers and sisters.
Speaking of cribs and bringing Christ into the world, this Advent we will be displaying different nativity scenes from around the world in the chapel. You are invited to help prepare this exhibit by sharing a nativity scene that you would like to have on display. Please contact Amy Cady (email@example.com) at the Mercy Center.
Written by Rev. Scott J. Pontes
Please note these important upcoming events:
- Monday, Nov. 9, at 6:00 p.m. in Our Lady of Mercy Chapel: Faith in Athletics
- Monday, Nov. 23 at 7:00PM in Bazarsky Lecture Hall: Thanksgiving Interfaith Prayer Service
- Thursdays, Dec. 3 & 10 at 4:00 p.m. in the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life: Advent Bible Study
- Monday, Dec. 7 at 5:30PM in the chapel: Advent Taizé
- Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. in the chapel: Advent Faculty/Staff Morning Recollection
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.