Advent, Peace Spirituality

Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2018

from Pax Christi France

Pax Christi France has put together a series of prayers and reflections for the weeks of Advent. Each Saturday, we’ll post those reflections on the blog for the upcoming Sunday. You can download the entire resource at this link in French. 

First Sunday of Advent, 2 December 2018

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25: 35-36)

Readings: Jer 33:14-16 | Ps 24:4-5, 8-10, 14 | 1 Thes 3:12-4:2 | Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

Extract from the letter of Pope Francis

Since the angels’ announcement of peace at Bethlehem, St. John Paul II interpreted the growing number of refugees as one of the consequences of an endless and horrific succession of wars, conflicts, genocides and ethnic cleansing that marked the 20th century. The new century has not yet reached a turning point: armed conflicts and other forms of organised violence continue to cause displacement of populations within and beyond national borders.

But people also migrate for other reasons, above all by a “desire for a better life, trying very often to leave behind the desperation of an impossible future to build anew.”

For reflection

  • Because we are created “in the image of God”, each person should be deeply respected. Am I attentive to this inner reality?
  • When Jesus sends his disciples on a mission, he asks them to enter the houses where his peace is welcomed and lived. Where are we in our own homes? Are we careful to cultivate this peace between us?

Prayer

Lord, disarm me, disarm us, disarm them!

Lord, disarm them of their kalashnikovs, their bombs, their belts, their hatred, their thirst for vengeance, their bitterness and their ignorance.

Lord, disarm us of our will to power, of our feeling of superiority, of our need to dominate, to be always right, to want to bring everything back to ourselves, to our achievements, to our knowledge, to our history.

Lord, disarm me of my pride, my excuses, contempt, anger, resentment, hypocrisy, envy, my self-assurance, my sufficiency, my arrogance. Help me to strip myself little by little because when I’m weak, then I’m strong. To reach Easter, I must accept being unarmed, naked with Christ on the cross.

AMEN

(Father Christian de Chergé)

For deeper consideration

“May the Lord give you an ever more intense and overflowing love between you and all people.”

  • How do we manifest this love towards our migrant brothers?

“Stay awake and pray at all times.”

  • In this time of Advent, are we ready to stand before the Son of Man?
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Advent, Peace Spirituality

The Evolving Incarnation

by James Hug, S.J.

“Be Watchful!  Be Alert!  You do not know when the time will come!”  [Mk. 13:33]

This opening line from the gospel for the 1st Sunday of Advent seems in no way unusual. We hear a similar message each year at this time. But this year it may be providing the context for a new sense of the season—and an invitation to take part in the incarnation of God’s Spirit in a world so terribly in need of it.

In early October, Fr. Bruno Cadoré, Master General of the Dominican Order, wrote to the members of the Dominican family—priests and brothers, nuns and sisters, lay associates—with a special request. Following upon last year’s 800th Jubilee of the Order, he asked all members of the Dominican family to join in a new, annual work of solidarity for peace. He proposed that, during the period from the 1st Sunday of Advent to January 1st, the Church’s World Day of Peace each year, the Dominican family pray in solidarity for peace and together offer solidarity for a particular project for peace.

He identified that focus of solidarity for 2017 as Colombia, where Dominican brothers and sisters have long been working for peace. Just a year ago, November 30, 2016, a peace treaty between the major combatants was signed in what was effectively a civil war of over 50 years. Rebuilding the nation and the peace after so much trauma and destruction is deeply challenging and is at an early and fragile stage…

Read the entire article by clicking here.

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* Artwork by Jasmin Roberts, https://www.facebook.com/MyTimeForDreaming/
Advent, Peace Spirituality

ADVENT 2017: A reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, 3 December

by Judy Coode
Project Coordinator, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7 | Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 | 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 | Mark 13:33-37

“… No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! [But] all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves … [You] have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. …”

Our season of waiting and watching starts with a pain-filled lament, a self-recriminating plea for mercy, a cry for reconciliation. The readings today remind us that it is time to reflect, and to remember that, one day, the sense that God is present will return to us.

Our faith tells us that God never leaves us, but our human sides make it easy to forget this, or to disbelieve it. We look at the terrible conflicts around the world, the power of war-makers, the ugliness towards others borne of greed and fear, and we cry because God’s face is hidden – will it ever return? – and we feel we have not done enough to stop the awful actions that swarm around us.

But we know the light has really never been extinguished. We wait these few weeks in December and light our purple and pink candles and wait for Mary’s baby boy to arrive, but we also watch our friends and colleagues continue to do what they can: shelter those who need protection, feed those who are hungry, comfort those who mourn, and remind everyone around us, especially those in power, that our Creator is with us and will always hold us close.

Advent, Peace Spirituality

ADVENT 2016: A reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, November 27

by Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN
Pax Christi USA

Isaiah 2:1-5 | Romans 13:11-14 | Matthew 24:37-44

“And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.” Romans 13:11

adv4Who or what do we wait for?

Advent is a strange time. We wait for the One who has already come. We wait for the One who is in our midst struggling and living among us. We wait for the One who beckons us from an unknown and unimagined future.

We wait, sometimes quietly, sometimes perched on tiptoes, sometimes in the midst of frenzied activity, sometimes not sure what we are waiting for, but always with the expectation that something will happn that will give our waiting purpose and meaning.

The Isaiah reading has the people climbing a mountaintop waiting to be instructed in the ways of God. In Romans, we read that the people are waiting for the dawn to reveal how to live honorably. In the Gospel we are told to anticipate the unexpected and to be prepared to find the Promised One in the most unlikely places.

In the ebbing time of 2016, where are the unlikely people and places where the Promised One is to be found?

  • In the neighborhoods that we tell our children not to go into…
  • In the people we ignore because fear holds us hostage…
  • In those who dress differently and speak with an accent, who we claim have no right to be in our country…
  • In communities that challenge us to confront our privilege…

The swords and spears of our time are drones, military hardware, and systemic racism, along with malicious gossip, judgement towards others. back-biting, grudge-holding, and bullying.

What is these swords were turned to acceptance, respect, trust and peace-with-justice activities? Advent would no longer be a strange time.

For reflection

What are the swords and spears in my life that need conversion?

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Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN is the program director for Pax Christi USA. This reflection is from the booklet, Journey towards Justice: Reflections for Advent and Christmas 2016.