Advent Amidst A Pandemic
It seems to me that as Brothers and Sisters of Penance, Advent, a joyous time of preparation and repentance is especially attuned to our Franciscan spirituality. Perhaps it is with a Franciscan sense of wonder that we are able to even better enter into Advent.
Fr. Jeffrey Kirby writes in Crux that ‘For the believer, or the person of goodwill, who chooses to observe Advent, they are allowing themselves to receive the blessings of the season. While different in how they are given, based on personal temperament and authentic need, the blessings of Advent include hope, peace, reconciliation, and conversion.’
There a ‘liminal space’ in waiting. A space of unique blessings. In this liminal space, this space between, there can be hope, peace, reconciliation, conversion. We can move through this liminal space and allow ourselves to be transformed by God graces. It’s like that wonderful time of waiting and anticipation through the nine months of pregnancy for a baby to be born (and the joy St. Francis helped us celebrate at Greccio!). Waiting in anticipation for a dear friend’s arrival. Waiting during the time of engagement a longed-for wedding. Tending for a dying loved on as Lady Jacoba did for Francis, waiting with them for the arrival of Sister Death, helping them to prepare for their journey home.
Especially this Advent, even amidst a pandemic, we can still share joy.
This 3rd Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we focus not on the waiting, but on this unbounded joy. The Readings for today jump with joy! We light the rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath. Our long time of penitential waiting is nearly complete. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Our responsorial psalm today is stunningly beautiful: My soul rejoices in my God. My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
I invite you to peruse the many articles included in this Cord; our spiritual life is full of so much Joy; the story of Greccio and the Incarnation, Our Lady of Guadalupe, our invitation to help others through Catholic Charities. At our December 13th gathering, Sr. Mary Beth Ingaham will be joining us to talk about Franciscan Duns Scotus and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. There is so much joy!
May God Grant You Peace +
Laura Chun, OFS
Secular Franciscan Order
Old Mission San Luis Rey
4050 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92057
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