Living counter-culturally: An Advent reflection…

Prayer, The Centre for Theology & Community l and tagged l

IMG_6892Following on from her very popular Lentern reflection, our Chaplain, Sr Josephine Canny OA, brings us a short reflection for the start of Advent…

If ever the liturgy invited us to live counter-culturally, it must surely be during the season of Advent. In an age of speed-reading, texting and immediate response, we are encouraged to re-read Scripture texts reminding us of our ancestors in the faith who really knew how to wait in hope.

Waiting patiently with a Scripture text until it yields a living word is not always an exercise we are accustomed to. Sometimes our “waiting” with a text is bound with a host of expectations about what the text should be saying to us. I want to read only what confirms my understanding of God’s will here and now. I become discouraged when the text offers no positive response to what I am thinking. Our tendency, then, is not to deal with this inner resistance, but to change texts. In other words, I am waiting for the word to “serve me” rather than “waiting for a Word.”


It would seem wise to stick to the Word the Church gives us as our daily reading for Advent and allow the Lord to speak “a Word” to me personally, in preference to the consumer mentality that shops around for consoling texts. Reverential waiting with the text implies a different style of approach – a willingness to be with the Word as its meaning unfolds for me – it implies suspending the expectation of instant consolation. And reverential waiting for a Word will allow me to discover the One behind the word so that we can exclaim with Simeon and Anna (those “experts” at waiting):

“Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace

According to your promise

Because my eyes have seen the salvation

Which you have prepared to all the people

A light to enlighten the gentiles

And the glory of your people Israel.” (Lk. 2, 29 – 32)

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