By Deacon James Wallace – Diocesan Seminarian
Brothers and sisters, I am so happy to announce to you that the season has come! Advent and the coming of the savior are now here, and that is cause for the greatest celebration on earth. The savior is coming! Jesus Christ is coming! Help and salvation are on the way! All our real hopes and all our true wishes shall now be fulfilled in the coming of the boy king. We are so blessed this season to think and pray about this one event that changed human history forever. It should be on our minds always because every human being now has a path to heaven. With the coming of the savior, the gateway is now open. As we celebrate this holy season, we are reminded of models that lead us in the ways of patience and virtue and how to celebrate Advent properly.
We have one model, in particular, that shows us the proper way to celebrate this holy season, someone we are called to admire and imitate, it’s no surprise that it is our Blessed Mother, Mary the mother of Jesus. We all know the story. Mary was a teenage girl living on the fringes of the empire (a place that nobody cared about). God revealed His plans for salvation to this one young girl – a nobody in the middle of nowhere – and exclaims to her that she has been chosen above all the others. This makes no sense to us because we live for worldly success, money, rewards, promotion, and fame. But not God. God reveals just how different His ways are from our ways when he chooses this one girl named Mary. And look at how she responds! When the angel Gabriel tells her that she will bear a son, Jesus, who will be the savior of all the world, she responds with a faith that many of us don’t have, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” She doesn’t hesitate even when she experiences the call of God, and that’s our model for this Advent season. We need to stop hesitating, surrender fear and worry, and embrace God with every ounce of strength we have left.
And how do we do that? How do we stop hesitating? Well, first, let’s act like Mary – our model of faith – and let’s say the words that she said: “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” Say those words in your heart right now and ask God for the grace given to Mary. Ask God to grant all your prayers that you have said for family and friends. Tell Jesus, “I want to know you.” Tell Jesus, “I want to serve you. I want to change the world for you.” These words echo the sentiments of our mother, and she encourages us: Pray constantly. We will never be true Christians until we pray and pray whenever we can. If you don’t know how to pray – if no one ever taught, you – then pray (1) Our Father (1) Hail Mary and (1) Glory Be. Those prayers will suffice every day this Advent Season. Pray them every morning. When you do, you’ll feel right as rain.
And Mary is our model in patience. Advent is the season of waiting and certainly the season of patience. And we wait, don’t we? We have so many things to wait for. The wife who’s waiting for her husband’s return from his deployment, that woman is in Advent. The man or woman who has Leukemia or suffering from nephrotic cancer, that person is in Advent. The priest who sits in the confessional on Saturday, waiting for someone – anyone – to come back and be reconciled to God, he is in Advent – we are all waiting on the Lord. Where is Advent in our lives? It is all around, but now, we have a reason to rejoice and a reason to hope! Our mother Mary is waiting on the good news to come to fruition, and it does. The savior is born, the King is coming!