Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Advent, waiting for the encounter

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Advent is an invitation “to sobriety, to not be dominated by the things of this world, Pope Francis said Nov. 27 in St. Peter's Square. “If, on the contrary, we are conditioned and overpowered by them, it is not possible to perceive that which is much more important: our final encounter with the Lord."—Pope Francis

Is death truly the end as many believe? Or is it an encounter with what the human heart longs for from its deepest center? Is all of our seeking to escape from the prison of ourselves in frantic activity or the acquiring of things and people, a way to keep us from truly understanding the purpose of our lives? What is it we thirst most for? Is it not to be ‘seen’ fully beyond words and understood without the need to explain or defend ourselves?

In society, we are told what the purpose of life is. We can be reduced to being consumers, belonging to some statistical group and then manipulated, or to some political or special interest group and herded along by those who seek to shepherd us along a certain path. In other words, we become ‘thing’, or an ‘object’, the antithesis to the very thing we desire. Things and objects are used, placed and then discarded when finished with.

If we are truly moving towards ‘the encounter’ with the Lord, should not this give our lives depth and purpose that goes way beyond what are culture wants from us? Should we not seek to become what we desire most… which I believe is love. Jesus says that if you love me you will keep my commandments which are rooted in the reality of love for others. To truly see others with the eyes of Christ is to understand the meaning of our lives, which is much different than what is expected of us by our society today. Love of a different nature from what is presented to us in art, movies and literature and yes by magazines and television.

O Lord come and teach us what is true,
what we are made for in the depths of our hearts,
to seek to become ‘You’ beloved so as to touch others,
to become vessels of grace for your children,
filling us with your Spirit.

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