“Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence, and in this season the whole Church is called to be hope, for itself and for the world.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI
Hope is a very special commodity. It is also a very fragile one. Hope can keep someone going even when times are rough. Or disastrous. Hopes can be dashed as well. In those times, some people find very little reason to continue whatever it is they were doing. All they can do is give up. In very extreme cases when people feel that there is absolutely no hope, they take their own lives. Thus, hope can be very special and give us a reason to continue while the absence of hope is dire and maybe even devastating.
Pope Benedict XVI believes that Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence. I really like that. We all need reasons to hope and we all need our hope to be supported by others. To think that the season of Advent would proclaim hope to God’s people is wonderful, indeed. It is also true.
Advent is all about hope. Sometimes people look at Advent – as they look at Lent – as a “have to” kind of season. When Lent comes around, people think about what they have to give up for the season. They think about what extra liturgies they are going to be expected to attend. They see the season of Lent as a series of mandated expectations. The same can often be said of Advent. People think about what they are going to have to do for those four weeks. They go out and buy candles for their Advent wreathes and they look at the recommended practices of the season.
That is because they do not have Advent in their hearts. If they did, they would not look at Advent or Lent through the prism of expectations or mandates. Instead, they would look at the seasons through the prism of opportunity. What could they do to get closer to the Lord? That should be the overriding question going through their minds.
What can you do for the remainder of this week to get closer to the Lord? There are many things that you can do individually. I will tell you this, though. If you look at the things you could do through the prism of helping others, your efforts will be amply rewarded by the God who calls us to serve one another.
FAITH ACTION: Try to find a way to help someone in need so that you may give them hope.