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First Sunday of Advent Reflection

Frances MacDougall, CND

Photo credit: Marie-Claire Dugas

I have been invited to share some Advent reflections with you

Imagine you are a ten year old child getting excited about Christmas and hoping for your favorite gift. Imagine you are a University student preparing for end of semester exams at the beginning of Advent. Imagine you are young parents with three children worried about finding enough money to be able to celebrate this Christmas. Imagine you are an elderly person longing for Christ to come and take her home.

What will you say about Advent to each of these people?

Perhaps we could begin by reminding each one that Advent marks the beginning of the church year. We could greet them with “Happy New Year”. “A whole new year with no mistakes in it yet” as Anne of Green Gables would say.

In today’s readings the Gospel of Luke speaks about cosmic disasters and liberation. As Sisters and Associates of the Congregation of Notre Dame we are called to the mission of “liberating education”. Hopefully, this Advent invitation to liberation will call us to reflect upon the question “How am I called to experience “liberating education” in my present circumstances?” From what do I need to be liberated?

Recently we seem to be experiencing something close to cosmic disasters – millions of migrants and refugees roaming the world in search of a home; devastating fires and floods in which thousands of people have lost everything; people struggling with addictions; polarization in both church and society; etc. What is the message of “liberating education” that Christ is asking us to speak to each of these disasters?

Perhaps we can ask for the grace this Advent to be more aware of how the Spirit is at work in each of us and in the world of today. God is laboring in us and through us. Be on the alert. Stay awake, praying at all times.

One of the most inspiring books I have read in the past five years is Hostages with God – the journal account of Sister Gilberte Bussiere CND, reflecting on her kidnapping and eventual liberation. Her constant prayer was “Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge”. And every day she, and the two Italian priests kidnapped with her, were sustained by the Word of God. They would remind one another “Everything is possible for one who believes”.

During this Advent season, may the grace of God remind us often of the “everything which is possible” in our lives and in the lives of all we meet, and give us the insight and courage to act. May our daily prayer be “Keep us safe, my God, for in you we take refuge.”


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