An encouraging Advent word from Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB.
Advent is one of the most difficult periods of the church’s liturgical cycle and all of the life questions the scriptures bring. Why? Because Advent is all about waiting. And waiting is not easy.
As life goes on, the liturgical cycles seem to become more and more meaningful to me. Perhaps after you’ve done enough living you come to understand that every life waits, suffers, comes to new life and rejoices in the ordinary. Advent is especially meaningful because it teaches me to wait without complacency, to wait without compliance.
There is so much to wait for now in life: human development, love, peace in the church and in the world. And most of us do not wait well for what we want or what we are meant to be. We get impatient or we get depressed. We question or we doubt. We argue or we get alienated.
And now, we all wait, not for the coming of Christ—God took care of that—but for the coming of the Gospel, which we are delaying in the name of God.
The key to the contradictions must be in the waiting. The question is, What is there about the waiting that is redemptive?
The chosen people taught us how to wait and why. They waited for years and decades and centuries through captivity and the destruction of the temple and the Roman occupation. And they never gave up.
Now women must wait through the captivity of their full humanity by the church.
Now nations must wait through the mad planning for the destruction of the planet by government sick with power and paranoid with fear.
Now the poor and uneducated and middle-class unemployed must wait, through occupation by the militaristic mind-set for the return of social programs and high ideals for all.
But while we wait we can learn and grow and become stronger than ever in our convictions. We can be conscientious and creative. And no matter who wants to suppress us or to silence us, we can be signs of hope that never, never go away until, someday, the star finally shines.
Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB