Do you think maybe Jesus knew the childhood game of Hide and Seek? There are two ways to play the game. In one version, one person is the “hider” and everyone else is a “seeker”. The seekers close their eyes and count loudly from 100 down to 1. When the counting is done, all the seekers scatter and start searching for the hider. When a seeker finds the hider, then he or she joins that person in their hiding position. In the more familiar version of the game, one person the seeker, is “It”, and covers their eyes and starts counting down from 100. All the hiders scramble to the best place they can find to avoid being discovered. When “It” reaches 1, he or she calls out, “Ready or not — here I come!” He/she then begins searching and tagging all the hiders. In today’s gospel lesson Jesus is “IT,” the “seeker” saying to the world, “Ready or not — here I come.”
Ten years after the death of St. Paul, Mark reminded his community in Rome of Jesus’ words – and he shouts the same warning to us today: “Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come.” Mark knew well the lesson we gradually learn i.e. when events don’t happen as quickly as we expect, we tend to forget what we know and slough off doing the things we know we ought to do.
There are no magic Advent practices to prepare for Christmas. There are the classic Christian exercises: works of charity, prayer, self-sacrifice, and penance. The Advent gospels will perk up your ears and catch your attention: “Take heed!” (Be on guard) and “Watch!” (Be alert, stay awake, and don’t grow careless). Don’t give up! St. Benedict admonishes us: “Never swerve from God’s instruction but faithfully observe God’s teaching in the monastery until death.”
In Chapter 67 of his Rule Benedict reminds us of the mutuality of journey prayers for each other. As travelers on our Advent journey, we ask for a blessing. And in return we promise to always remember in daily prayer our journey companions.
Advent is our annual journey from the warning to “stay awake” and “be alert” to the glorious memorial celebration of Jesus’ birth. Let’s heed the words of Benedict and be prayerfully conscious of each other on our individual and our communal Advent journey. We know this: God is in charge and God can be trusted. We just have to: “stay awake – be alert – watch!”
Here’s a simple Advent project that can help keep us alert and watchful. Every morning as you get up, pray, “Lord, show me someone today with whom I may share your love, mercy and forgiveness.” As you settle down for the night, ask yourself, “Where did I find Christ today?” The answer will be God’s Advent gift to you that day. It reminds me of a saying attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas: “Without God, I can’t. Without me, God won’t.”
~by Sister Roberta Bailey, OSB
Giving Tuesday was a huge success!
We couldn’t be more appreciative for the outpouring of generosity.
We exceeded our fundraising goal and raised $44,898 and with the generous match from John Picciano that gives the Sisters $82,398!