Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advent Swiftly Passing -- What's My Attitude?

Some musings of a Franciscan friar in a Midwestern winter:

Here in southeastern Wisconsin we are getting both frigid weather and new snow fall. Last week when we were preparing to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe it was quite cold! This past weekend the temps went up into the 40s F, and then they plunged into the single digits. Wow! What a contrast.

For me in the northern part of the Midwest it seems to take more time to adjust to the fluctuations of weather. When it's cold and stays cold I seem to be fine; when it's warmer and stays warmer I'm OK, too. But when it goes up and down my body seems to get rather confused!

Maybe that's just how our lives are -- adjusting to the fluctuations that happen beyond our control. Economic downturn, violence both near and far, insecurity at work, a loved one's illness. I don't think it means we're "powerless", at least not completely so.

As Advent is quickly moving toward the great celebration of Christmas next week, it might be an opportunity for us to consider how we respond to the changes in our lives, the changes about which we have very little, if any, say.

Yes, there are many things in life that we do have control over -- what we put into our bodies, what we watch on TV and in the movies, the people we call friends and with whom we associate outside of work and school.

But, taking a look at this past Sunday's Second Reading (1 Thess. 5:16-24) from the Roman Rite, it speaks a lot about our attitude in life. "Rejoice always;" "pray without ceasing;" "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."

We might be tempted to think this is sweet religiosity or pious prattle until we confront that our life in conversion really is becoming more and more like Jesus Christ! As we yield to the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives we begin to notice a change. We are becoming more like the Lord in our attitudes. Just take a look at what St. Paul writes about the fruit of the Holy Spirit (BTW, it's singular "fruit") in his Letter to the Galatians 5:22-23.

That's our attitude in the face of uncontrollable events. Not a sense of desperation. Not cynicism. Not even resentment. But an atttiude that God is greater than whatever happens, though for now, at least, it might seem overwhelming. The Christian vocation sees God at the center, at the periphery and throughout the experience.

Advent swiftly passes; tempus fugit as the Latin proverb states (i.e. "time flies"). Still, what's my attitude this Third Week of Advent?

1 comment:

Sister Julie Ann said...

As many in the Midwest pause because of a winter snow storm, your message speaks to the sudden attitudes of impatience that seem to blizzard inside. Thanks for the Advent message. It would seem to be appropriate throughout Christmas, Ordinary time, etc. Peace and all good from the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

You may want to pause and listen to our "Bending Toward the Light' podcast featuring some beautiful stained glass windows from WI Catholic Churches and music from A Jazz Nativity.