Reflection for the Year of Faith: Advent
By Fr. Erich Rutten, Chaplain & Director of Campus Ministry

Native Minnesotans love to brag about how tough they are in withstanding any kind of cold.  We love to wear shorts in December!  We love to tell folks from other places that it sometimes gets down to 50 below.  Somehow we acclimate and get used to it.  But is this toughness?  Or numbness?  Or what??

In a similar way, it is possible that, as fallen human beings, we also acclimate to pain in our lives and in the world?  Have we become numb?  Do we brag about our toughness when our family is fighting or when a friend betrays us?  Do we stuff our anger or loneliness?  Do we tune out the problems of the world?  Do we pay no attention to our roommate in trouble or to the poor or to other injustices because if we were aware, we might have to do something about it?

Faith gives us an antidote.  Faith helps us to feel the pain precisely so that we are empowered to deal with it.  Faith gives us hope.

We believe that God made the world good and that each of us is loved.  But the world is fallen and full of pain.  However, regardless of the powers of sin and darkness in this world, we believe that Christ is King.  We believe that Christ offers us a way out.  We believe in the power of reconciliation and healing.  We believe that the morning star is rising.

Advent is a time for us to recover from our numbness.  It is a time to feel.  It is a time to recover a deep longing for the Kingdom of God and for the coming of our King, Jesus Christ.  This is the essence of Advent: feeling, longing, waiting, watching.

But, at the same time, Advent is not meant to be passive.  Our faith should lead us to desire to relieve the pain of our world.  Both the prophet Isaiah and the prophet John the Baptist tell us to “prepare the way of the Lord… to make straight his path.”  We are called to prepare the Kingdom for the coming of the King.

Let us have faith.  Let us feel.  And let us act in hope.

Have a blessed Advent.

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