The first week of Advent

December 3, 2012

The first week of Advent. Since the tenth century, Advent has marked the beginning of the Church Year in the West.  Today, Advent is hardly notice, rarely observed, obliterated by a shopping tsunami. Advent is not four weeks of shopping for Christmas. The word “advent” literally means “arrival.” Advent is a time for being awake and aware, a time for longing and waiting, a time for preparing for the coming of Christ.  Jesus tells us to light our lamps and wait for the Master.  Our waiting should be an active not passive waiting. During Advent we get ready to become active participants in God’s incarnation by creating peace in our spiritual, social and personal relationships. In Advent we are asked to look at our lives, and if we see something amiss, we need to correct it.  We need to turn our swords into plowshares. Our lives need to be transfigured into vessels of God’s love and compassion. Advent is a time to renounce our clinging to false securities so our eyes will not be so blinded that we cannot see the arrival of Christ in our midst.  (Gerry Straub)

As I was driving to Brainerd yesterday afternoon in the dense fog, I was thinking of how we see, as in a fog, and how Steve Emblom, who died Saturday morning, is seeing things as they really are from the perspective of God and heaven.

 Last Wednesday the State of Montana was featured as our Dining Adventure. Terry and the kitchen crew do a nice job of serving foods from the state.  And the ambiance is great, too.

Friday night a number of us Sisters attended the dinner and the Hole-in-the-Day Players play, “Lie, Cheat and Genuflect” at the Falls Ballroom.  It was an evening of MANY laughs. Allen, our Head Housekeeper, had a main role in the play. Thanks, Allen, for such a fun evening.

Preparations for Christmas are happening around here, too. One day last week, Sr. Deborah Honer’s brother, brought us six beautiful huge poinsettias. Sister Antonette has the dining room windows on second floor painted. And Terry has a whole lot of delicious little fruit cakes baked and ready for us to eat and to give as gifts.

Yesterday was our Advent Retreat Day.  “Living into the Incarnation” was the theme of Jim Smith’s presentation.  Most of us are familiar with “Lexio Divina”  (listening with the ear of our heart) as a form of prayer using Sacred Scripture. Jim talked about “Visio Divina” using pictures and our sight and vision to see God in our daily lives and all around us…God meets us here. And a third concept was “Vita Divina” witnessing God in our own lives and the lives of others, especially the marginalized as a means to live the Incarnation.

Last evening the St. Francis Community Chorale presented their concert, "O Holy Night” directed by Barb Stumpf. The Brothers in Harmony were also part of the concert. Seven-year-old Jaylene Newman was the soloist for “Some Children See Him.”  What a wonderful strong voice she has and so much poise to sing before a Chapel full of people.

Saturday, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is our Patronal Feast, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. We will have Morning Prayer together at 8 a.m. followed by breakfast.  Mass is at 11 a.m. and Evening Prayer at 4:15 followed by dinner.

God bless you this first week of Advent.                                                                                                 

May you find God in the events of your day.    
Sr. Mary Lou

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