December 18, 2008

Advent Spirituality

I was going to see my spiritual director late yesterday, so over the course of the day I was reflecting on the month that had passed. I noticed right away that I felt much better in my vocation and encouraged in prayer than I had when I was preparing for my visit last month. So I spent the day trying to remember what had happened over the past month to improve my spiritual situation, and I noticed a lot:

An old friend had called, whom I had not seen much since my conversion, and I was reminded how Christianity has saved me from certain inanities and unmeanings of my prior self. Visiting the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Newark for their Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass was healing and clarifying for me. The latest letter from our Minister General, some of which I shared yesterday, has been encouraging for me and some other younger friars. Finally, catching a cold a while back forced me to slow down--even stop--and notice where I was and what I was doing.

All of this is Providence, and has been there over the past month for my encouragement. But my point is simply this: if I had not taken the time yesterday to reflect and become mindful of these little acts of the Holy Spirit, I might never have noticed God working through them. That's why something like regular spiritual direction is a good practice; it forces you to take notice of what's going on with yourself from time to time.

To me, this is the spirituality of Advent. The Bridegroom is always arriving. God is always appearing in the now, forever new and refreshing. At least that's the best way we can experience Eternity, as a Presence in the now. The Bridegroom is always arriving; we pray so that we might recognize him.


A Bit of the Blarney said...

I missed my spiritual direction this month because of so many conflicts. Reading your reflection allowed me to reflect on how His presence has been felt in the meantime. Thank you! I will probably read this again. It has a lot to say to me.! Cathy

for narnia said...

thanks for sharing this, Fr. C! i don't have a regular spiritual director, but usually what i try to do (which is similar to what you do in reflecting on each month) is that i try to set saturday mornings or early afternoons aside and try to spend a couple of hours (or more, sometimes)in church at Sacred Heart, because it's a very peaceful and prayerful atmosphere for me. during this time, i pray, reflect on the week, meditate and write my little reflection on the sunday readings and your inspiring homilies. and yes, i agree that if we all slow down and take the time to pray and relfect, we will see just how God has been and IS always working in our lives.
tara t