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Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.  People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers if the heavens will be shaken.  And they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is near at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.  For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.  Be vigilant at all times and pray that you will have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of great and fearful signs, of the roaring of the sea and the waves and people dying of fright. In the next paragraph, we are exhorted to “beware that our hearts to not become drowsy” and “be vigilant at all times.”  It strikes me that this is not some future event; these things are happening right now. Having lived at the Jersey shore the last two years, I understand the fear and powerlessness we feel in the wake of the unleashed ferocity of Hurricane Sandy.

Each year we ponder this reading or other very similar passages in our Advent liturgy.  Frankly, I DO try to keep my heart vigilant and alert for signs of God in my life and in the world, sometimes more successfully than others.  When Jesus says, “beware” most of us are quite apt to sit up and pay attention. Yet, being “vigilant at all times” is beyond me.  My hopes for my spiritual life today, next week, next year, seem to never quite pan out.  Complaining of this sorry state to a trusted friend, I received some exquisitely simple advice: Just do the next right thing!  And that I can do.  I may forget to be vigilant, not always keeping my ideals before me.  I can, however, ask myself as I make the choices that each day presents: What is the next right thing?  When I live in this way, I know the security of living out of God’s purposes for me, of being able to welcome the signs of the times, of living without the fear and dismay that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel. When I live with awareness (beware) then the journey of life and the destination become part of one reality, and I can await “The Day” and everyday with the “joyful hope” that is also part of this wonderful season.

– Sr. Mary Amy Hauck

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779hourglassJust in case you were wondering… We’re getting our ducks in order here. Tomorrow’s the big day; unveiling Sister Amy and her words of insight and wisdom. So practice a little patience, stay tuned, and offer it up to the dear souls in purgatory. 🙂

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