Advent – The Time for our Spiritual Awakening by Sr. Maximiliana Kroczak, CSMJ
Alive but Asleep
Advent is the time of a call from God to wake up because man sometimes falls asleep during his life. A sleep, unlike natural sleep, he may never wake up from but continues to sleep for evermore. Let us look into this worrying sleep as described in the gospel of Saint Paul, “For you it is the time now to rise up from your long sleep”.
St. Paul explains that this sleep means you drift away from what is right and moral in your life. You find yourself maybe drinking to excess, lying with ease, taking part in malicious gossip, being envious of those with more than you or only doing things that are beneficial to you.
The only connection this sleep has with the natural sleep is the moral collapse of your conscience into unconsciousness. Natural sleep renews your physical strength. This sleep destroys your moral strength and that which is most important in man and keeps him from being selfish, self serving, egotistical, and uncaring.
The Advent Call
The awakening finds its fulfilment by making us aware of the good that we can do, awaking us to the fact that we are not the ultimate in life. We are just part of humanity and our neighbour’s life is as important as our own. In this awaking we learn that only God can fulfil the human heart and satisfy all our needs and longings. The advent cry of awake or wake up is calling us to commit to a new beginning to renew ourselves in the faith, with total acceptance of God’s laws for living our life. We must accept from the Lord the challenges that life brings, the sacrifices as well as gifts.
I stand at the door and knock
Advent’s goal is to create in us a healthy fear of sin so that we will not miss the coming of the Lord and not to close ourselves off from Him. “I fear that Christ will pass by me and I won’t invite Him to come close, and He may never pass by me again” this was the great fear of Saint Augustine. For Christ comes to man full of respect for his freedom. “Here I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come to him and eat with him and he with Me”.
Advise of Blessed Fr. Michael Sopocko
“If at you are not awake and alert to advent or neglect it and don’t invite Christ to come close to you in this time, then He may leave you alone. And no one but Jesus is able to bring peace to you, and forgive you your sins”.
Keep Watch at all Times
It is worth remembering the three dimensions of Christian vigil which were distinguished by Pope John Paul II in his appeal in Jasna Góra in June 1983. His Appeal was directed to Our Lady. It is to spiritually renew the promises given by Poland to Mary. At that time they sing a simple prayer, “I’m with you, I remember you and I keep watch at all times”.
What does it mean to keep watch?
It means I try to be a person of conscience and do not ignore my conscience or distort it. It means that I identify with what is good and do not blur it. It means that I develop everything that is good in my life and try to overcome all evil in myself.
Furthermore “to watch” means to respect your neighbour, to watch that you do not close yourself off from other’s feelings and needs. I watch means to love your neighbour, to be one with your neighbour. I watch means also that you feel responsible for our common heritage namely, the faith. This defines all of us, this obliges all of us. Let us not desire to defend the faith only when it costs us nothing. The Holy Father spoke about Poland when he was in Poland or about Ireland when he was in Ireland, but at all times he was speaking to the whole world.
Live in the Name of Truth
A nation is only rich when it has faith and it is its people who make it rich. It is made rich by its good people. It is made rich by all who live in the name of truth, because truth inspires love, and love is necessary to live by the faith.
The Season of Advent
The season of Advent truly moulds the meaning of the coming of Christmas. If we only hear the message of this period, it will be lost on us for it means something more than just a memory of this salvific event which took place in Bethlehem just over two thousand years ago.
Most Decisive Moment for our Earth
For the Incarnation of God’s Son is not only a past historical event; it is an event for all time. The meaning of Advent is that it was the most decisive moment for our earth, an event that will have importance for all time. This coming of Christ in the life of every one of us is important while we await His glorious and definitive (final) coming. In fact the whole of our Christian faith is “advent-al”. Even the Holy Gospel is in this respect “unfinished”, waiting for the fulfilment. The last book, the book of the Revelation ends with a passionate cry, “Marana tha” – come Lord Jesus, come!