Advent: Humility leads to enlightenment

Posted: November 17, 2016 in advent, christian prayer, Christmas, holiday gift ideas, religion
Tags: , , ,

By Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

One of the greatest influences in my spiritual life is an audiotaped lecture called “A Spirituality of Waiting” by the late Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen. Over the years I have returned to this wonderful lesson during Advent, always finding its message fresh and meaningful. I have come to realize that having “a waiting heart,” as Fr. Nouwen suggests, not only fits well with the Advent theme of waiting; it also describes a very basic, central stance of the spiritual life.

Fr. Nouwen begins by stating the obvious, that waiting is “something that goes against our grain.” Few people look forward to a situation in which they know they will have to wait. Being told that we have to wait seems to force us into passivity. Our society looks at waiting as a “kind of desert between where we are and where we want to be, and we don’t like that place.  We want to get going.”

However, the waiting attitude that Sacred Scripture invites us to embrace is not passive but rather “active waiting — waiting on God’s promise to be fulfilled,” which is much different from how we usually think of waiting. The people we meet in the first pages of St. Luke’s gospel are all waiting: Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary. All of them hear, in one way or another, the words, “do not be afraid, I have something good to tell you.” It is then that they are able to wait for something new to happen. The psalms are full of this attitude of waiting: “My soul is waiting on the Lord … more than the watchman for daybreak.” This message reverberates throughout the Hebrew and New Testament Scriptures.

During Advent, the community of the faithful wait, as did the waiting Israel, anticipating the coming of Christ into our hearts bringing peace, healing, and wholeness. We will not be disappointed. Some ways we can help nurture the attitude of waiting upon the Lord include participation in special Advent liturgies; songs and opportunities for community prayer; silent reflection; prayerful reading of scripture; simply having conversations with God; faith sharing opportunities; and the practice of spiritual reading. No matter what we do, we should remember these words from Anthony DeMello’s  book, “One-Minute Wisdom,” about how the light of Christ comes to us:

Novice:  “Is there anything I can do to make myself enlightened?”  

Abbot:  “As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.”

Novice:  “Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?”

Abbot:  “To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”

As stewards reflecting Christ, let us wait, watch, and wonder, as the light of Christ born anew begins to rise in our hearts during the holy season of Advent.

_____________

By Charles W. Sidotiauthor of these two inspirational books!

simple_contemplative_spirituality125

NEW BOOK!!  Click to view and / or learn more about “SIMPLE CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY” on the publisher’s website: http://amordeus.com/giftShopProductDetails.aspx?itemID=520

51JrEWm+cNL._SL500_AA300_

“Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time” – on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Living-Gods-Speed-Healing-Time/dp/158595831X

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s