Advent is flying by! As we light this second purple candle my niece Olivia has put together a weekly challenge for us that is more like a daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute challenge for some: PATIENCE!?!? We have a great week ahead here at Ask Aunt Katie... a few feast days, another feature from Catholic Services of Acadiana, and more surprises to come!
Patiently waiting until we meet again,
I've been told all my life that patience is a virtue, and I'm very bad at listening, because while I have grown in many virtues, patience is not one of them. Don't believe me? Ask my husband or one of the many people who were around me during that excruciatingly long period of time as I waited for a proposal and engagement. I was the picture of impatience. [Editor's note: this is very true.]
And as we enter advent, I've been reflecting on patience a lot. Specifically the patience of the Jewish people, and the extraordinary patience of the Blessed Mother. This Sunday, we open the gospel with a quote from Isaiah, and we learn that the Israelites not only had to wait for the Messiah, but they had to wait for the guy who would “prepare the way” for the Messiah. And that guy came in the form of the camel covered, locust eating John the Baptist. The advent that the Israelites had, anticipating the arrival of the Messiah, lasted centuries. And He came, in a most unexpected way. And I can only imagine what the Blessed Mother experienced in her own advent as she prepared for the coming of her Son. She didn't live in the world that we do, and unlike pregnant folk like myself, she didn't have access to infinite mommy blogs or the ability to research cute baby products with equally cute names to keep herself preoccupied as she prepared for her child to come into the world. She simply waited. That’s simultaneously terrifying and beautiful in my opinion. She truly prepared the way for her Son. I don’t know about you, but in my head, as I sit here preparing for a baby, when I imagine having a baby shower, setting up a crib, taking birthing classes, and so much more. But that isn’t how Mary prepared for Jesus. She prepared for Him in her heart, knowing the Lord would do as He wished and she would go along with it, because that’s what you do when God and an unborn child make decisions for you.
So what can we do to be more like Mary as we enter into the the Second Week of Advent? Well here are a few ideas:
(1) Put down the Christmas movies and stop singing carols for the week. I know it’s hard and Jingle Bell Rock is so catchy, but if we are to be like the Blessed Mother we must wait like the Blessed Mother, and Christmas is not here until the 25th.
(2) Pray. Well that one’s easy right? Wrong. If you’re anything like me you have four Christmas parties, two weddings, a college graduation, and two birthday celebrations to pack into your holiday season not to mention all of the fun things like deadlines going on at your day job. Making time to pray might actually be the hardest during Advent. But find it. Light your Advent wreath during dinner and sit with your family and find some form of prayer. Check out a local parish Advent mission. Another great way to increase your prayer during Advent is by using a daily reflection guide like the one found here that goes through the Gospel reading for each day of Advent, giving you something specific to reflect on each day. [Editor's note: It is not too late to start!] Whatever you choose to do, it's important to make the most of your Advent.
(3) Remember the true meaning of Christmas. Elf on the Shelf is cute, presents are great, my trip to Disney World is very promising. But when all of those things are happening, look around and remember that you get to celebrate on this day because God sent His Son Incarnate to die for your sins so that one day you may have Eternal Life. And on a day much like today, his Mother sat in waiting, awaiting the birth of her Son and holding the suffering of His coming death in her heart.
Have a happy and blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas!
Olivia Laborde teaches theology at Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette, LA. She recently discovered "sweat pants day" at school and couldn't be happier. Olivia and her very patient husband Josh are expecting their first child in the Spring of 2018. If it's a girl, we're pretty sure her name will be Auntkatie Laborde. You can find Olivia on IG: liv_laborde